TOPEKA (KSNT)– There are hundreds of different types of mosquitos found in the United States, but only 10-12 of these carry potential diseases that are harmful to humans.
One of those diseases is the West Nile virus. According to the CDC, since Jan. 11th of this year, a total of 2,695 cases of the West Nile virus have been reported to the CDC. It is also reported that one out of 10 people who develop severe symptoms of the virus “affecting the central nervous system die”.
However, the Shawnee County Health Department is setting up five different traps around the area to test mosquitos for the virus, among other potentially infectious diseases. Shawnee County is one of three counties in Kansas that have this type of mosquito surveillance to ensure any potentially infected mosquito is detected quickly and efficiently so the public can be notified.
“We can then put out alerts if those numbers get above thresholds or if any virus shows up in our community to let them take some preventative precautions to eliminate their potential risk of transmission,” said Craig Barnes with the Shawnee County Health Department.
Typically at this time of year, the traps have already been set up. But, due to budget cuts from the state for mosquito surveillance, the traps will be set up slightly later in the year on June 27th.
Health officials said that mosquitos carrying the West Nile virus are most commonly captured during the July, August, and September months. Having said that, people should not be alarmed that the traps have not been set up yet.