Morgan County Health Department Sanitarian Cameron Morford has officially ran his first positive test for West Nile Virus in mosquitoes here in Morgan County, and it was in Jacksonville.
Morford has been with the Morgan County Health Department for the last three years, and he has told WLDS News previously that he had not gotten a positive result yet in his time with the MCHD from any mosquito samples.
Dale Bainter is the Public and Environmental Health Director with the Morgan County Health Department. Bainter explains the two-part process of the mosquito pool trap testing.
“We currently run a two-part West Nile program.
“The first part of that is surveillance. We run multiple traps throughout the county, and we test mosquito pool samples daily depending on the number of mosquitoes collected from the night before.
“The second step is prevention. We use larvicide, a product that prevents the maturation of mosquitoes throughout the county in an attempt to knock down the mosquito population and prevent the spread of West Nile Virus throughout the county.
“The positive sample we pooled came from Jacksonville, somewhat near the center of the city, at a spot we’ve been testing all summer.”
Bainter offers a few additional details as to how the samples are processed and tested.
“We can trap up to 50 mosquitoes at a time. I think the positive test pool had about 27 in it – that’s not an exact number. We then grind them up and test the specimen on-site for West Nile. There is a low limit and an upper limit based on the readings from the West Nile test, and the positive result was well within the limit to guarantee that West Nile had made its way to Morgan County.”
Common house mosquitoes, also known by the scientific nomenclature culex pipiens, are the main carriers of West Nile Virus and contract the virus from infected birds. However, though the mosquitoes tested positive Bainter says zero bird tests have come back positive.
“We have not had a bird sample test positive in 2018. The MCHD will now focus efforts on reducing the local population of mosquitoes. Once we receive a confirmed positive test in our surveillance efforts, there is no reason to continue the surveillance. We know that we have WNV-positive-testing mosquitoes.”
To learn more about mosquito prevention, you can head to our website wlds.com and search in the AM Conversation tab for our conversation with Sanitarian Cameron Morford, or you can also go to the Morgan County Health Department website at morganhd.com.