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Health And Public Safety

Health Officials Predict Severe Mosquito Season

05/09/2017

The City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department, in cooperation with the Bernalillo County Health Protection Section, is advising caution with regard to mosquito-borne disease in anticipation of very high mosquito populations throughout the summer months.

“Water levels in the river have been very high already this year, and there has been flooding in many areas of the Bosque,” said Dr. Mark DiMenna, Deputy Director at the City’s Environmental Health Department. “With early warm weather and much more water from snow melt still to come, we expect the mosquito population to be particularly high this year.”

The City of Albuquerque operates a joint City-County mosquito control program throughout Bernalillo County. Most of the program’s efforts are focused on the areas where mosquitoes are typically most abundant, especially throughout the Rio Grande Bosque. The program follows an integrated pest management approach in order to achieve maximum control with the lowest possible use of chemicals.

Mosquito control efforts are directed at the proactive protection of public health. While Bernalillo County is not home to species of mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus, the risk of West Nile virus is still present.

“It’s likely that with the large numbers of mosquitoes we’re seeing so early in the year, familiar levels will not be able to be achieved,” added Dr. DiMenna. “As a result, we are asking the community to take every precaution to avoid mosquito bites and reduce their risk of being exposed to disease carried by these insects.”

To minimize mosquito bites and prevent exposure to disease carried by mosquitoes:

  • Use insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when outdoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends repellents that have been proven effective, which includes those containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 for use on skin, and permethrin for use on clothing. Always follow label directions when using insect repellents.
  • Eliminate water-holding containers where mosquitoes lay their eggs, such as old tires, and regularly change the water in birdbaths, wading pools and pet water bowls. Make sure rain barrels are tightly screened.
  • When flood-irrigating, prevent water from standing for more than a few days
  • Keep windows and doors closed if they do not have screens. If you leave your house doors or windows open, make sure they have screens that fit tightly and do not have holes.

Residents in Albuquerque and throughout Bernalillo County can report mosquito breeding or request mosquito control by calling 311.

Contact:

Dr. Mark DiMenna, City of Albuquerque

(505) 263-3299

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