On July 7, 2008, mosquitoes collected from a pool in eastern Washington tested positive for West Nile virus, the first evidence of the virus in the state this year. People bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus may have no symptoms or they may become ill with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
While the discovery in eastern Washington does not indicate an imminent threat to Maple Valley residents, avoiding mosquito bites and taking steps to reduce the mosquito population around your home remain prudent.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites
Only nine species of mosquitoes out of more than 50 in Washington have the potential to transmit the West Nile virus and, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control, human illness from the virus is rare, even in areas where the virus has been reported. Even so, avoiding mosquito bites is a safe course of action.
- Reduce the places available for mosquitoes to lay their eggs by eliminating standing water sources from around your home. (Mosquitoes need stagnant water for a minimum of seven days to complete their life cycle.)
- Change the water in your birdbaths, fountains, wading pools and animal troughs once a week.
- Make sure roof gutters drain properly.
- When possible, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat when going into areas where mosquitoes have been observed.
- Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times.
- Make sure windows and door screens are “bug tight.” Repair or replace if needed.
- Consider applying insect repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) or Picaridin when you're outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk.
- Do not apply chemicals or other pollutants to streams, lakes or wetlands (or to water that may flow into them). Remember that natural predators such as dragonflies, fish and frogs help reduce mosquito populations.
What the City of Maple Valley is doing
The City continues to monitor Seattle-King County Department of Public Health Surveillance and Alert Levels and implement treatment of catch basins and dipping of the Fountain Court pond if warranted.
For More Information
The federal Centers for Disease Control, Washington State Department of Health, and Public Health-Seattle & King County are the experts in this area and the sources of information about the virus. For updated recorded information, call the King County West Nile Virus hotline (206-205-3883) or the state hotline (1-866-78VIRUS).
Crows are particularly susceptible to West Nile Virus. If you find a dead crow on your property, call Public Health at 206-205-4394. King County's West Nile Virus Information. If you see a heavily infested area of mosquitoes, you can also call Public Health. They are tracking specific locations that seem to be mosquito problem areas.