After a long winter one tends to forget there are such things as mosquitoes. I have never had a mosquito problem at my house, but I went to DeLaura Beach on Sunday. We no sooner had the horses out of the trailer and we were covered. It was better once we got moving on the trail through the woods, but stop just for a moment and they caught up and swarmed you again.
Here is an article that I wrote for North Coast Oregon back in February:
For years nervous horse owners have kept an ear to the rail waiting for the seemingly inevitable storm that was coming our way. We watched reports of West Nile infected mosquitoes coming over the Rocky Mountains and moving west. We watch as the first cases showed up in California, moving north. When the first cases were reported in Eastern Oregon and Washington we knew it wouldn’t be long.
Late last summer the first case of West Nile Virus was reported in Clatsop County. A dead crow turned up in the yard of Patrick Morrison in Gearhart. Hal Nauman of the State Health Department confirmed the arrival of West Nile Virus in Clatsop County. Many diseases are spread to humans and animals by mosquitoes throughout the world: Chikungunva, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Japanese Encephalitis, La Crosse Encephalitis, West Nile Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, Yellow Fever, Dengue, and Malaria.
West Nile Virus, like the case found in Gearhart can infect humans. There is a vaccine that is used for horses, but there are no approved vaccines for humans. This virus can have three different effects on humans. The first is an asymptomatic infection; the second is a mild fever termed West Nile Fever. The third is a neuron-invasive disease termed West Nile meningitis or encephalitis. My father became a paraplegic due to complications of what was diagnosed as meningitis and encephalitis at the time. We have only recently realized that it was more than likely West Nile Virus.
There is now the possibility that people here in Clatsop County may one day contract this disease that is spread by mosquitoes. I wonder if it is now time for Clatsop County to get involved in Vector Control for public safety.
At home, people are asked to make sure to eliminate any standing water on their property or use biological agent BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) dunks which are small round biscuits that one may purchase in garden stores. Dunks can go in small ponds, and bird baths. They are toxic only to a few insects but especially mosquito larva.
There are several counties in Oregon that already have Vector Control districts or agencies. Their task involves education and the spraying a biological agent into lakes, streams, ponds and swamps. Vector diseases can easily become an epidemic and it will be well worth the cost instead of paying for the on-going consequences if these diseases ever take a firm foot-hold in our county.
Just to demonstrate how important an issue this is to the rest of Oregon, here is a list of the twenty Vector districts around the state.
OREGON MOSQUITO CONTROL DISTRICTS BY COUNTY
Baker – Baker Valley Vector control
Clackamas – Clackamas County Vector Control
Columbia – Columbia Drainage Vector Control District
Crook – Crook County Vector Control District
Deschutes – Four Rivers Vector Control
Jackson – Jackson County Vector Control
Jefferson – Jefferson Env. Health
Klamath – Bly Vector Control District
Klamath Falls – Chiloquin Vector Control District
Lane – Lane County Env. Health
Malheur – Malheur Env. Health
Marion – Marion County Env. Health
Morrow – North Morrow Vector Control
Multnomah – Multnomah County Vector Control
Umatilla – West Umatilla Vector Control District
Union – Union County Vector Control District
Wasco – Wasco County Weed Depart.
Washington – City of Beaverton – Washington County Vector Control