Local News

Jul 23, 2013 1:53 PM by Rachel Cole - rcole@kristv.com

West Nile Virus Testing for Coastal Bend Mosquitoes

CORPUS CHRISTI - The city won't be spraying for mosquitoes after all. On Monday, vector control crews collected mosquito traps that were set out all over the city. Tuesday morning, they checked the traps but there weren't enough mosquitoes to warrant spraying.

Vector control's policy is, if they find at least 50 mosquitoes in a trap crews will spray in that location. The most mosquitoes they found in one trap were 23.

Meanwhile, vector control crews were also out Tuesday collecting traps holding mosquitoes that will be tested for the west nile virus. Tony Pantoja, a vector control officer with the city says if those tests turn up positive, the city could begin aerial spraying.

"This net right here is full of mosquitoes," Pantoja said.

Pantoja picked up 10 of the 27 mosquito traps set across the city. The pesky parasites in the traps will be tested for the virus. His district stretches from the south side of town down to the island. Last year, only one case of west nile was reported. However, officials say with increasing numbers of the deadly disease in North Texas, vector control is taking precautions.

First, officers use what's called an aspirator to suck the mosquitoes out of a trap and then transfer them into the container by blowing them into the jar and corking them inside.

Then to keep the bugs healthy and alive vector control feeds them raisins before they head to Austin. Lab technicians will contact the city once the results are in.

"Sometimes it'll be a week or two it all depends if they get a positive sign they'll let us know real quick, they'll call me or email me to let me know what's going on and they'll let the district know," Pantoja said.

City and county officials plan to do aerial spraying if the results come back positive for west nile in order to protect the community.

Sample mosquitoes are sent to Austin every week during the peak months of summer to be tested for the virus.

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