West Nile Virus eludes Millington base

Memphis and Shelby County Health Department officials may want to take notes from the navy base when it comes to controlling mosquitoes. The base in Millington is one area where the West Nile virus has not been discovered.

Officials at the base credit pro-active mosquito surveillance. Surveillance includes the use of five strategically placed New Jersey-type mosquito light traps like these. The traps are placed out on the base from mid-April to mid-September. The traps determine the presence, sources, species and numbers of mosquitoes. Mosquito larvae are treated with an E-P-A registered material when dip counts in standing water exceed acceptable levels. Pest control contractors also map the installations on base that promote temporary water accumulation. There is also a weekly drive-by inspection of nuisance birds both living and dead.

All dead birds are placed in a plastic bag and sent to the "National Wildlife Health Center" in Wisconsin for analysis for the west Nile virus. Since this process began in 1999, no birds have tested positive for west Nile virus on base.

If you find a dead bird in a zip code where West Nile has not been reported call the Memphis-Shelby County Health Department at 324-5540.