Be careful ... mosquito season is upon us

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Lauren Moss
  • 49th Aeromedical Dental Squadron
Spring has sprung and with it comes many enjoyable things such as pool parties and barbecues. It also brings some not so enjoyable creatures, such as mosquitoes.

They fly, bite and can spread diseases. Some mosquito-borne diseases found in New Mexico include St. Louis Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus. Since 2003, Holloman has had mosquitoes that tested positive for WNV and in 2006, New Mexico had eight confirmed cases of WNV with one death. There is less than a one percent chance of being infected from a single mosquito bite.

Illnesses related to mosquito bites are uncommon; however, if high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, severe headaches, stiff neck or sensitivity to light are experienced, seek medical attention immediately.

Pest Management and Public Health monitor the mosquito population on Holloman by setting traps and counting how many mosquitoes are caught. Once the threshold number is seen in the traps, Pest Management will begin fogging.

Since we would rather prevent mosquitoes than kill them, we ask for your help in eliminating breeding grounds. Some common places mosquitoes lay their eggs are in children's pools, pots, tires, birdbaths and rain gutters that have standing water. Make sure to dump out any container that has water in it after it rains or you water your lawn.

Another preventative measure you can take is keeping grass short and don't over water it. Mosquitoes only need a little bit of water to lay their eggs.

Although we have already entered mosquito season, the worst time for mosquitoes is usually in July during monsoon season. Again, we would rather prevent disease than have to treat it, so make sure during this time when you are outdoors you wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, use a bug repellant such as DEET and ensure windows and screens are in working order. Avoid outdoor exposure during peak mosquito biting time between dusk and dawn.

Additionally, since WNV affects birds, if you find a dead bird on base, we encourage you to call Pest Management at 572-7170 to arrange disposal. This also applies for any other dead animal you may come across on base.