The first mosquitoes found in Laramie County to test positive for West Nile virus this year have been found in Cheyenne, officials announced Thursday.

Weed and Pest Manager Steven Trowbridge says the infected mosquitoes were collected from traps near Sun Valley and Laramie County Community College last week.

“This is typically the time of the year we expect to see a rise in West Nile virus activity, and these positive mosquito pools confirm that,” said Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department Supervisor Jennifer Escobedo.

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While the chance of getting sick from the virus is very small, it can be deadly, and Trowbridge says they and the health department are doing their utmost to protect everyone.

"(We) will continue to visit all known mosquito breeding sites, including sites near these positive mosquito pools," said Escobedo. "Larval control activities will continue throughout the summer."

Trowbridge says they have also started truck spraying in areas with elevated numbers of infected mosquitoes.

Because mosquitoes lay their eggs in items around the home such as birdbaths and unused flowerpots, residents are being asked to do their part by getting rid of any standing water in their yards.

Officials also recommend people avoid spending time outdoors during dawn and dusk, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, and use an insect repellent containing DEET to prevent mosquito bites.

The best and most effective mosquito control begins in your yard. Eliminating standing water is the first step in reducing mosquito breeding:

  • Check your property for ANY items that can hold water. Anything you choose to keep outside, such as kids' toys, buckets, wading pools, canoes, and wheelbarrows, should be flipped over when not used to prevent them from collecting any water.
  • Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers and remove any discarded tires.
  • If you have a swimming pool or spa that is not in use, drain the water off the cover or treat the standing water with Mosquito briquettes, and post accordingly. The briquettes are available from the Health Department, at 100 Central Ave, Monday - Friday while supplies last. Call (307) 633-4090 or e-mail to arrange a pickup.
  • Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito for containers without lids.
  • Use an outdoor flying insect spray where mosquitoes rest. Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture or under the carport or garage. When using insecticides, always follow label instructions.
  • If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
  • Make sure that roof gutters drain properly, clear vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds, and remove leaf debris from yards and gardens.

To reduce your risk of being bitten, use the 5D method by following these steps:

  • DUSK & DAWN-Stay indoors when mosquitoes are more active.
  • DRESS – Cover up as completely as possible. Wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods or when mosquitoes are more active.
  • DRAIN - reduce the amount of standing water in or near your property by draining and/or removing it. Mosquitoes may lay eggs in areas with standing water.
  • DEET- Use mosquito repellent, which should always be applied according to label directions. Do not use repellent on babies younger than 2 months old. Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children younger than 3 years old.

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