Annapolis, MD (Sept. 6, 2017) – The Maryland Department of Agriculture will conduct unscheduled mosquito control spraying in response to a West Nile virus-positive mosquito pool in Prince George’s County.  Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) truck-based spraying to control adult mosquitoes is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, September 7, in the communities of Colmar Manor, Mount Rainier, Cottage City, Brentwood, North Brentwood, Riverdale Park, Riverdale Heights, Oaklyn, Landover Knolls, and Landover Mews. Due to weather conditions, spraying originally scheduled for this evening in Hyattsville and Bladensburg has been re-scheduled for Thursday evening as well.

Spraying will occur after 7:30 p.m., weather permitting. Any existing spray exemptions in the area will be temporarily suspended. People should avoid outdoor activities on spray nights.

The department’s Mosquito Control Office, in cooperation with the Department of Health, routinely conducts surveillance activities throughout the state to collect and test mosquitoes for West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and several other mosquito-borne diseases. These diseases are endemic in Maryland and are transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Approximately 20 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will develop West Nile fever, which is typically characterized by fever, headache, and body aches which can last for just a few days or as long as several weeks. Less than one percent of people bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of the disease. People most at risk for developing the severe disease are those over 50 and those with already compromised immune systems.

While not all mosquitoes carry these diseases, the Maryland Department of Agriculture suggests that residents take precautions to minimize their exposure to mosquito bites. These measures include:

  • Wear long, loose fitting, light colored clothing
  • Wear insect repellents according to product labels
  • Avoid mosquito infested areas during prime periods of activity (between dusk and dawn)
  • Install, inspect, and repair window and door screens in homes and stables
  • Regularly clean bird baths and bowls for pet food and water
  • Remove or empty all water-holding containers

Currently, there is no WNV vaccine for humans. There are, however, effective vaccines for horses, ostriches, and emus – also known as ratites. Owners are encouraged to get their animals vaccinated and boosted in a timely manner in consultation with their veterinarian.

Dog owners are also urged to have their pets checked for heartworms, the most common disease transmitted by mosquitoes in Maryland. Dogs in all Maryland jurisdictions should be placed on a heartworm preventive program. Pet owners should consult with their veterinarians.