Ike's Rains Raise Fears of Increased West Nile

Add another location in Brazos County to the pool of positive tests for West Nile.

A sample of mosquitoes from Arbor Drive in Bryan, taken more than a week ago, came back positive for the disease.

Incidentally, the Arbor Drive location where the latest West Nile pool was collected is where Pauline Cotrone lived. She died late last month in Louisiana after contracting West Nile, possibly in Bryan.

This latest test obviously came before Hurricane Ike, but health officials are warning of a possible increase in the disease.

"It seems like the identification has been later in the season," said Dr. Charles Williams with the Brazos County Health Department. "We expected, actually, to start finding more positives earlier in the season."

As the drought we all dealt with last summer provide no water for the bugs to breed in, the month of August saw more than 6.5" of rain. Ike's two-day total was in the neighborhood of 3.5" of rain in Bryan/College Station.

Those rains, followed by relatively dry conditions now, could mean an increase in West Nile-carrying bugs.

"We're trying to encourage everyone now, especially after the rains, and now with the dry season, as those pools start to concentrate, the mosquitoes are going to start to repopulate in those, and so we look for the mosquito population to go up," Williams said.

Here are the four D's of protection against mosquitoes:

- Drain standing water around the house, including tires, cans, flowerpots, rain gutters, buckets, wading pools, puddles, etc. Trim grass and shrubs and do not over water lawns and gardens.

- Wear insect repellent containing DEET.

- Stay indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

- Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors to prevent bites.

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