When walking outside, you may notice you’re swarmed by mosquitoes and before too long, you have bites everywhere.
With the above-average precipitation Cascade County has experienced this year, conditions are perfect for mosquitoes to breed. Due to the Missouri and Sun Rivers flooding, more standing water is in yards and in ditches, which created a serious breeding ground for the insects.
Josh Blystone, superintendent at the Cascade County Weed and Mosquito Management, said they’re aware of how bad the mosquitoes are this year and they’re doing everything they can to calm it down. He added it’s been a few years since the mosquitoes have reproduced to this volume.
“There’s a lot of developed mosquitoes out there. We’re fogging six nights a week, we’re running both our trucks, we’re pretty well aware where there’s a lot of mosquitoes at. People are pretty good about letting us know also,” said Blystone.
Blystone added the mosquitoes will be present for a few more weeks. He recommended wearing long sleeves and pants and spraying EPA-approved repellent when you go outside.
The Montana Department of Health and Human Services released tips on how to prevent West Nile Virus infection this summer.
The WNV season usually begins in July and ends in October as that is when the mosquitoes responsible for the infection emerge.
When infected with WNV, about four out of five people will not have symptoms and will develop immunity after clearing the infection. However, one in five individuals who develop illness will generally experience mild symptoms that include headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or a rash.
Last year, Montana had 11 cases of WNV reported; eight were mild while three were neuroinvasive cases. Although Montana reported no deaths in 2017, the state did have deaths in previous years.
There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for a person at risk or ill with WNV.
Humans are not the only ones who can be infected with WNV as Montana had eight reports of equine cases last year. A vaccine for horses is available and highly recommended.
The four D’s of WNV prevention should be followed to reduce the chance of mosquito bites:
- DEET: Use insect repellent such as DEET or picaridin
- Drain: Drain standing water around your house to prevent mosquito breeding
- Dawn/Dusk: Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk. Stay inside or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites during these times.
- Dress: When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect yourself from bites
For more information, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services’ website.