West Nile Virus Found in Ada County, Aerial Spraying over Boise Begins Soon 

click to enlarge - The Culex mosquito transmits West Nile Virus to humans. After several found in a trap near Highway 55 and State Street tested positive for WNV, Ada County announced it will fog and aerial spray the area. -  - CDC/JIM GATHANY
  • CDC/Jim Gathany
  • The Culex mosquito transmits West Nile Virus to humans. After several found in a trap near Highway 55 and State Street tested positive for WNV, Ada County announced it will fog and aerial spray the area.

Mosquitos caught in a trap near the intersection of State Street and Highway 55 tested positive for carrying West Nile Virus July 8. This comes after West Nile was also confirmed in mosquitos in Canyon, Gem and Washington counties.

In response to the discovery, the Ada County Mosquito Abatement program was slated to start ground fogging the area late July 8 and continue with ground larviciding into the morning. Aerial spraying will most likely take place this evening.

click to enlarge - Mosquito populations that carry West Nile Virus are doubling, despite the county's "control efforts." -  - ADA COUNTY
  • Ada County
  • Mosquito populations that carry West Nile Virus are doubling, despite the county's "control efforts."
On July 7, the Ada County Commissioners and mosquito abatement officials held a press conference on their plans for aerial spraying in Ada County. In a news release, officials said the county's mosquito population is increasing more quickly this summer, triggering the response for aerial spraying.

Brian Wilber, the director of the mosquito abatement program said the species of mosquito that carry West Nile Virus are doubling each week, "despite our control efforts."

"With the appearance of West Nile Virus in Gem and Canyon counties, it's only a matter of time before it shows up in Ada County," he said at the press conference, only one day before the mosquitos near Highway 55 and State Street tested positive.

"We need to get ahead of this situation and be proactive in working to keep mosquito numbers down and keep West Nile Virus out of our county as long as possible," said commission chairman Jim Tibbs at the conference,

While ground fogging is effective, officials say it doesn't cover enough area to stay ahead of the threat. The aerial spray application will take place over parts of Eagle Island, Boise and Star beginning this evening—depending on the weather. Ada County contracted Vector Disease Control to conduct the spraying, which has worked with aerial spray applications in Ada County before.

click to enlarge Around 15,360 acres will be sprayed with pesticide to kill off mosquitos capable of carrying West Nile Virus. -  - ADA COUNTY
  • Ada County
  • Around 15,360 acres will be sprayed with pesticide to kill off mosquitos capable of carrying West Nile Virus.
They'll use a pesticide called Dibrom Concentrate, which is federally regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. One-half an ounce will cover an acre, and dissipates by early morning. The press release said it is not considered harmful to people or pets. For those with home gardens, it's advised to wash produce as normal before eating.

In another press release, Ada County officials stressed that bees are not harmed by the use of pesticides. The spraying takes  place after dusk, when bees are not active and breaks down by morning when they resume activity. People with beehives can cover them if they'd like, but the county says there is no knowledge of impacts on bees from previous aerial sprays. The mosquito abatement program uses the smallest recommended dose, which still proves to be highly effective at killing adult mosquitos, while leaving other insects unharmed.

People infected with West Nile Virus usually don't have any symptoms, while one in five will develop a fever and flu like aches. Less than 1 percent of people infected will develop a serious neurological illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no treatment for West Nile Virus.

In 2006, Idaho led the nation with almost 1,000 infections—250 of which came from Ada County—and 23 deaths statewide. In 2013, after aerial spraying was conducted, only seven people in Ada County were reported to be infected with the virus. Mosquito traps and presence of West Nile Virus can be tracked here.
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