The City of Laramie has detected West Nile virus in 4 mosquito samples collected in the local area. The samples were collected between August 7th and August 12th. The tests were conducted with the City’s Rapid Analyte Measurement Platform, or RAMP, testing equipment.

Confirmatory testing will also be conducted to verify these positive samples. The chances of these samples testing positive is very high because of the values reported in the RAMP testing. The rating of the risk of West Nile virus infection remains at Level 1 which is a low risk. This is based on the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for a phased response to West Nile virus surveillance data.

Technicians have tested a total of 63 mosquito sample pools throughout the summer season. These are the first positive samples of the year. Currently virus activity is categorized as “Limited to sporadic activity in local mosquitoes and birds”. No avian, equine or human cases have been reported at this time in Albany County.

Although total mosquito numbers are currently low, vector mosquitoes that can effectively transmit the West Nile virus make up a greater percentage of the mosquito population in late summer. Current surveillance locally shows low to moderate numbers of vector mosquitoes being collected at trap locations near the Big Laramie River and in some rural locations. Residential surveillance sites within the city limits report low vector numbers.

Mosquito control will be resuming full neighborhood – citywide fogging in response to the new surveillance data. This tactic is designed to control any older mosquitoes that are in areas of Laramie that have not been treated for several weeks including most of the central neighborhoods.

A decision to return to perimeter fogging in the outlying neighborhoods will be made after the full fogging is completed in each of the 4 zones and trap data and subsequent RAMP testing is evaluated. Mosquito Control is also currently performing targeted fogging operations to control vector mosquitoes in areas of higher vector densities and areas where citizens often recreate in the evening hours. Targeted areas include: Parks and recreation areas, golf courses, and the Laramie River Greenbelt Trail. “No Spray” zones will continue to be honored at this time.

Citizens are reminded that West Nile virus can infect people of all ages, but the elderly may be at the greatest risk for a serious infection. Locally, the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus are most active at dusk and citizens should limit activities in areas with high mosquito populations during this time. Repairing screens, especially in sleeping rooms, and using personal protection such as proper clothing and insect repellent containing DEET can also reduce the risk.

Further Wyoming West Nile information can be found on line at: http://www.health.wyo.gov/phsd/skeeter/index.html or the Centers for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html.

Hotline information regarding chemical applications on city owned properties will be updated daily at 4 p.m. Call 721-5056 or visit www.cityoflaramie.org/mosquito. For further information contact Keith Wardlaw, Mosquito Control Crew Supervisor at 721-5258 or David Schott, Parks Manager at 721-5264.