The puddles of standing water from all the rain and flooding in Iowa are becoming ideal breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Brian Hanft, manager of the environmental health division of the Cerro Gordo County Health Department, says several different types of mosquitoes can affect a person’s health.
He says the culex mosquito is still tracked to determine the threat for West Nile virus in the area, but it’s now been determined that other types of mosquitoes are able to carry, not only West Nile, but a number of other diseases that can impact humans. Hanft says one way you can cut down on the number of mosquitoes is to get rid of any standing water around your yard.
He says even a small amount of water as big as a bottle cap can be a great breeding ground for mosquitoes, so make sure you get rid of things like buckets, containers or old tires that are capable of holding water. Hanft says many Iowans have already been bitten by mosquitoes with West Nile virus and they probably will never know it.
He says right around 80% of the population has or will be bitten by a mosquito with West Nile virus and never show any symptoms. Almost 20-percent will show some weak symptoms, while less than one-percent will come down with more severe complications. Hanft says his department will continue to test for mosquito-borne illnesses throughout the summer.
He says they have mosquito collections nightly and they take chicken blood samples to determine if mosquitoes are spreading around any illnesses. Hanft recommends wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outside at this time of year, especially around sunrise and sunset, and wear repellant with the chemical DEET.