May 30, 2003
Record rainfall increases risk of West Nile Virus
Charlotte, NC - While the treat of West Nile virus is considered low at this point, but the number of mosquitoes may be particularly high--thanks in large part to consecutive days of soaking rains.
The mosquito most likely to carry West Nile in our area--the Asian Tiger mosquito--isn't in season until the hotter, summer months.
But Dennis Salmen, program chief of the Mecklenburg County Health Department's Public Health Pest Management Program says his staff has already answered more than 500 customer calls about mosquitoes, dead birds and West Nile virus.
Salmen says the rain has put the mosquito season--and the flood of phone calls to his department-- several weeks ahead of schedule.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we handle more than 2000 calls by the end of July," adds Salmen.
Currently, summer crews working with Public Health Pest Management are checking and treating more than 1300 known areas of standing water that could be potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
"With all this rain," adds Salmen, "we'll probably be finding standing water in areas that we haven't seen it before."
A service call today revealed just such a site in a northeast Charlotte neighborhood. An area larger than a football field has filled with water and is creeping into the yards of several homes, bringing mosquitoes literally to their back doors.
Rather than wait and give more mosquitoes the opportunity to hatch, Public Health Pest Management crews treated the site today. Salmen expects it will likely have to be treated again.
To report standing water or mosquitoes, call the Mecklenburg County Health Department's Public Health Pest Management Program at 704-336-5101.