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Cooke County officials urge West Nile Virus precautions

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

LAKE KIOWA, TX -- With recent rain and warm weather, mosquitoes are back and they're biting. Two human cases of West Nile have already been reported in Texas. One in Anderson County, one in Tarrant County.

One Texoma community is prepping for the virus, and Cooke County officials are urging you to protect yourself.

"In the morning, we usually have like I said anywhere from 20 to 50 mosquitoes in there," Randy Schmaltz said.

Lake Kiowa Community Manager, Randy Schmaltz, says they've been trapping mosquitoes in two traps for three weeks. The mosquitoes have been sent off to the state department of health to be tested for West Nile Virus. So far, all the tests have come back negative for the virus, but they're not taking any chances.

Lake Kiowa is primarily a retirement community, and that age group is more susceptible to West Nile.

"So, that's why it's very important that we test for this to see if we have it here and if so, to make sure we inform them that we do have a positive result," Schmaltz said.

Last year, Cooke County had six confirmed human cases of West Nile - one of those fatal.

"With the outbreaks we had last year, and the prevalence of mosquitoes throughout our county, it's safe to assume that the disease is here or will be here soon," Ray Fletcher said.

Cooke County Emergency Manager, Ray Fletcher, says cities and communities in the County decide individually whether they want to spray for mosquitoes or trap them. Lake Kiowa's only option is trapping.

"Spraying requires it to be at least 300 feet away from a body of water. And the way that the lake is situated in the middle of the community, it would be pretty much impossible," Schmaltz said.

Both Fletcher and Schmaltz encourage everyone to protect themselves. Drain all standing water near your home. Use an insect repellant containing DEET. Dress in long sleeves and pants, and remember mosquitoes are most active at dusk or dawn.

"I think it's here. It's here to stay and we need to act accordingly," Fletcher said.


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