Study suggests how cities combat West Nile Virus

Local officials doubt any changes will be made to how San Antonio deals with mosquitoes

SAN ANTONIO - A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that cities keep close track of mosquito populations and aggressively work to keep populations in check when conditions are favorable for breeding.

It also suggests that bird populations be monitored for West Nile Virus outbreaks to avoid epidemic levels in humans as what was witnessed in Texas in 2012.

Local officials say that the study is unlikely to change how San Antonio tackles West Nile Virus.

"When things get bad, there will be, as usual, our vector (control) individuals who perform some type of spraying and I think these are going to be used in measures that are going to continue as we did last year," said Dr. Anil Manga, head of epidemiology for San Antonio Metro Health District.

Local military bases already monitor birds for the disease in San Antonio, and in times of wet weather, the city aggressively sprays areas of standing water to kill mosquito larvae.

When it comes to combating West Nile Virus, the city can only do so much.

The public has to do its part as well.

"You need to make sure your property, your home, does not have any standing water," said Carol Schliesinger, spokesperson for SAMHD. "We, as a city, can go out and treat all of the public properties, but if people who own private property can help do their part, then we should all be OK."

So far this year, only two cases of West Nile have been reported in Texas -- one in Anderson County and one in Tarrant County.

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