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West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus has moved across the United States and, in late 2002, was found in western Washington. The City of Kent has been monitoring the advancement of the virus and preparing for its arrival. As of June 2004, no cases of West Nile Virus have been found in humans in Washington.

Minimization of mosquito breeding habitat is a top priority for the City. Elimination of tires and garbage in wetland sites, detention ponds, bio-swales, drainage areas and other such areas is being done since these are sources of mosquito habitat for breeding. In our wetland sites, native fish, frogs and other natural predators are excellent means of mosquito control. Due to potential damage to the environment, other means of mosquito control, such as chemical application of larvicide or adulticide will only be used if there is a serious health emergency.

For the most part, the minimization of mosquito habitat wherever possible through litter control and elimination of standing water is our best means of mosquito management at this time.

You can also be involved in the fight against West Nile Virus. The Washington State Department of Health recommends these things you can do to control mosquitoes in your area:

  • Empty anything that holds standing water - old tires, buckets, plastic covers, and toys.
  • Change water in your birdbaths, fountains, wading pools, and animal watering troughs weekly.
  • Recycle unused containers - bottles, cans, and buckets that may collect water.
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly, and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
  • Fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers.
  • Make sure window and door screens are "bug tight". Repair or replace if needed.
  • Stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and a hat when going into mosquito-infested areas such as wetlands or woods.
  • Use mosquito repellent when necessary, and carefully follow directions on the label.

Studies have shown that you are unlikely to have a severe infection, even if you are bitten by an infected mosquito. However, in rare cases it can be fatal so it is best to do what you can to avoid mosquito exposure. We also encourage you to learn about West Nile Virus from the many sources of information that are available.

Please visit the following links for information, updates and news releases regarding the West Nile Virus:

Washington State Department of Health:
http://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/WestNileVirus.aspx 

King County Public Health: 
www.kingcounty.gov/health/westnile 

Centers for Disease Control:
www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm 

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture:
http://agr.wa.gov/foodanimal/animalhealth/diseases/westnilevirus/ 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/westnile.htm 

King County Public Health is coordinating the West Nile Virus status, and monitoring programs in our area. They have set up an informative West Nile Virus hotline at 206-205-3883.

For general questions about the West Nile Virus, please call the City of Kent Public Works Department at 253-856-5500.