Mosquito season is in full swing, and with Denton entering Risk Level 4 of Mosquito Surveillance and Response Plan as of July 20, it’s important to be reminded of the preventative measures students should partake in.
Entry of Risk Level 4 was triggered from positive samples for West Nile virus that were collected on July 12, from a trap near the Pecan Creek Water Reclamation Plant and a trap at Robson Ranch, according to a released statement from the City of Denton’s website.
The condition of Risk Level 4 brings concerns of a moderate to high probability of a human outbreak, according to the release statement from the City of Denton’s website. While the City will increase the use of the biological agent, Bti, to kill mosquito larva, “citizen involvement is essential,” according to the released statement from the City of Denton’s website.
“Be aware of standing water and help eliminate breeding areas by dumping standing water when possible,” UNT’s Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator, Vicki Coffey, said in an e-mail interview. “Even a bottle cap of water can breed hundreds of mosquitoes.”
For students who are concerned about mosquito treatments on campus, “UNT’s pest control company has taken an active role in mosquito control efforts,” Coffey said. “They place Altoside granules or dunks in standing water. They also do the ground spraying with Mosquito Barrier, [a] garlic-based product, for outdoor events.”
As for safety concerns regarding the use of the repellents, Altoside and Mosquito Barrier, Coffey assured that they “are all safe for the environment and not harmful to humans or animals.”
Although UNT is being proactive with the risks mosquitoes may cause, “students should be aware that mosquito-borne illnesses are possible,” Assistant Director of Outreach at the Student and Wealth Center, Kerry Stanhope said in a phone interview.
Students should participate in simple everyday precautions such as using repellents with concentrations of up to 30 percent of DEET, or according to manufacturer’s directions on the label, and wear long sleeve shirts and pants, Stanhope said in regards to avoiding exposure to mosquitoes. However, as long students are participating in these precautions “they should not let that awareness affect their daily lives,” Stanhope said.
“I don’t think people are as aware of the issue,” Taite Bailey, a sophomore in Hospitality management said. “People just blow it off. We just [hear] of people getting diagnosed with [mosquito-borne diseases] or dying from [mosquito-borne diseases].”
However, even with knowing about the dangers mosquito-borne diseases may cause Bailey said, regarding her use of mosquito repellent on an everyday basis, “Not on a regular occasion, [but] usually around night time when I know I’m going to be outside.”
With the emphasize of how mosquitoes can easily breed in standing water and raising awareness within the public and the use of personal protection, mosquito-borne illness can be controlled in Denton and on campus.