West Nile virus was detected in an avian sample near Laramie. While it has not spread to humans, it is the first positive test in Albany County.
“We know there is West Nile virus circulating in the normal cycle between mosquitoes and birds,” Mosquito Control Crew Supervisor Keith Wardlaw said. “That gives us a hint that we need to take some extra precautions and perhaps do some additional fogging.”
Todd Feezer, director of Laramie Parks and Recreation, said mosquito fogging will remain steady now, although additional fogging and possible aerial applications could occur if more West Nile positive tests are collected.
“We normally fog through the middle or end of August until temperatures drop,” he said. “It really depends on the weather, but we can adjust.”
While most of the nuisance populations of mosquito are dying off, culex tarsalis — the species that carries West Nile — are peaking, said Scott Schell, University of Wyoming assistant extension entomologist.
“Their population is low in the spring — not like the flood water population,” he said. “I’m not too surprised to see positives show up.”
The females of the species hibernate during winter, carrying the virus from the previous year.
The population slowly builds through the summer, peaking just before the temperatures cool.
Just as important as mosquito populations are avian populations, Schell explained.
Birds carry the virus and mosquitoes pick it up after a blood meal.
“Early in the season, they are a bird feeder, taking blood meals from fledglings,” he said. “As summer progresses, they move to humans for meals.”
Wardlaw suggests using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and avoid places with suspected mosquito activity during the dusk hours.
“This is a time to use precautions and continue to enjoy the summer, but we are on point to continue to do surveillance and control,” he said.