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WICHITA, Kansas — The population of mosquitoes has risen dramatically in Sedgwick County and health officials are urging residents to take precautions worried about the spread of the West Nile virus.
“We know mosquitoes are carrying it,” said Seth Konkel with the Sedgwick County Health Department.
The health department tracks mosquito populations using nine traps spread around the county.
Over the summer, they averaged around 400 mosquitoes caught per week in the traps.
On August 6, they found 5,000. The next week they found 3,000 more.
“Theres a lot more standing water now,” said Konkel. “And that’s the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.”
Konkel urges people to remember the “three d’s” : dress appropriately covering as much skin as you can, use DEET or other insect repellents, and drain standing water.
“Its important for people to drain any standing water in flower pots, tire swings, empty pools they’re not using, any place where water can pool is enough space for mosquitoes to reproduce and breed, ” said Konkel.
While health officials have trapped mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus, there have been no infections reported this summer.
Symptoms are flu-like early on but you should see a doctor if you suffer from a severe headache or fever. Untreated infections can lead to paralysis or death.