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West Nile virus found in local mosquitoes

West Nile virus reports are on the rise throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The Benton County Mosquito Control District, which stretches from Finley to Mabton, saw its first West Nile activity of the season this past Wednesday when mosquitoes tested positive for the virus.

The positive sample was from mosquitoes taken near Byron Ponds, close to SR 22 on lands managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Benton County Mosquito Control District emphasizes that the department has worked on control measures in all seasons, but the area is simply a good habitat for mosquitoes.

Locations throughout the district where mosquito counts are highest will be sprayed by aircraft Saturday, Aug. 11, beginning at 10 p.m.

The type of mosquitoes that carry the disease thrive in dry, hot weather, and if they are not controlled the virus will spread from mosquitoes to birds, horses and people.

Benton County Mosquito Control continues to marshal available resources to combat these public health threats and minimize human/mosquito contact.

Individuals can do their part by eliminating or treating mosquito breeding habitats around their homes, including discarded tires, unwashed bird baths, clogged rain gutters and unused plastic wading pools. People can also take steps to prevent bites by wearing long-sleeved clothing and applying EPA-registered repellents such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and oil of lemon-eucalyptus.

For more information, visit www.mosquitocontrol.org.

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