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Local mosquitoes carry encephalitis

Female mosquito of the Culicidae family
Female mosquito of the Culicidae family

In August, several mosquitoes were found along the west side of town carrying Saint Louis encephalitis. These infected vermin were pulled out of ditches in two primary locations: the 2900 block of Lawton and the 4500 block of Castenon. So far, no mosquito-to-human transmissions have been reported.

Saint Louis encephalitis, which causes an inflammation of the brain, is one of many blood-born viruses transmitted via mosquitoes. Symptoms range from mild headache to severe coma and death. The biggest threat is to very young or old individuals, as well as the those with weak immune systems.

The city of Corpus Christi has been spraying for mosquitoes for the past three months and monitoring mosquito-related diseases. So far, no mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus since 2008 and no human cases have occurred since 2007.

A few simple steps can be followed to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquito larvae can lie dormant for years, and will spring to life when they come in contact with the right conditions – plentiful water and suitable temperatures. One of the best ways to prevent mosquito bites is to prevent mosquito larvae from ever being activated by dumping out any buckets or other containers of standing water near your house. When you venture outside, avoid dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are more active, wear protective, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and use an insect repellent containing DEET.