The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved Tuesday an insect control program designed to fight West Nile Virus and Lyme disease.
The 2013 Disease Carrying Insect Program is a series of measures designed to prevent widespread outbreaks of West Nile Virus, Lyme disease and other illnesses in the county.
The annual initiative involves monitoring mosquitoes and ticks, surveillance on any human cases in the county, and educating residents on effective prevention.
West Nile Virus season runs from May to October, according to officials. During the the 2012 mosquito monitoring period, county health experts trapped and tested more than 64,000 mosquitos in nearly 2,800 groups. Of those groups, 255 tested positive for West Nile Virus.
Positive cases weren't confined to one specific area - they spread from Mount Vernon all the way to Chantilly.
Officials will once again be trapping and testing the bugs in 2013.
According to a Fairfax County Department of Health report, more than 5,300 cases of West Nile Virus were reported across the United States in 2012, 243 of the ending in death.
In Virginia, 29 residents were diagnosed with West Nile, three of whom died. Of the eight cases reported in Fairfax County last year, one resident died.
How do you avoid the pests? Officials offered some tips to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and decrease the risk of West Nile Virus near you:
- Turning over or removing containers from your yard where rainwater collects, such as potted plant trays, buckets, or toys.
- Removing old tires from your yard.
- Cleaning roof gutters and downspout screens.
- Emptying birdbaths once a week.
For more information on Fairfax County mosquito control, West Nile Virus prevention and other insect carried diseases, visit the county’s web site.
Supervisors also approved a program to combat bugs like gypsy moths and cankerowrms that damage the county’s wooded areas, particularly in the Mount Vernon and Lee Districts. You can read more about that here.