Commerce officials urge West Nile Virus awareness

Apr 26, 2013

Warm weather - and mosquitoes - are back.

Press release (unedited)

Texas is currently at the beginning of mosquito season and as the weather continues to warm up residents will start spending more time outdoors. With the return of mosquito season this means that the exposure to West Nile Virus (WNV) is possible.

WNV is a serious illness and at this time there are no vaccines or cures. The City of Commerce is committed to the residents and will attempt to minimize the risk of WNV and keep the community informed about any increases in health risk. The city will be using several of its departments to implement new measures, take preventive actions and monitor gathered data throughout the mosquito season to be able to make better decisions about which preventive actions need to be taken and will be most efficient.

The city will be distributing education material to residents, conduct educational workshops, tracking reports of dead birds, tracking and investigating mosquito complaints, deploying mosquito surveillance traps around the city, submitting mosquitoes for testing for the presences of the WNV and will use larvicide and adulticide when appropriate.

There are four main actions residents can take to help protect themselves according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. 1) Stay indoors at dusk and dawn. This is the time of day that mosquitoes are most active. 2) Dress in long sleeves/pants, loose and light colored clothing when outdoors, 3) Defend yourselves from mosquitoes by using an insect repellent that contains Deet, Picaridin, or oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Follow label instructions. 4) Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood. Also make sure that flower pots, water dishes, bird baths, and wading pools are properly drained so they are not breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

The City of Commerce Office of Emergency Management will be working closely with Hunt County Emergency Management, Texas A & M University – Commerce, Texas Department of State Health Services, Hunt County Health Department, City of Greenville Health Department and other agencies to stay informed of WNV status not only here in this area but the surrounding area so that the best possible decisions can be made for the city.

The City of Commerce Office of Emergency Management and Hunt County Emergency Management created a webpage last year that contains information and links about WNV. Commerce Office of Emergency Management will be updating this page to keep residents informed and updated as necessary.  This webpage may be accessed at . Commerce Office of Emergency Management will also be posting information to its Facebook page which is listed as City of Commerce - Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

If you need to report a dead bird you can contact animal control at 903-886- 1160 or city hall at 903-886-1100. If it is after normal business hours you may contact the police department at 903-886-1139. Mosquito complaints may also be made by calling any of these three offices also. If you have any questions regarding WNV you may contact Emergency Management Coordinator Chris Vaughan though the police department at 903-886-1139.

On May 7, 2013, Commerce Office of Emergency Management will be hosting a WNV workshop for the residents of Commerce to attend and learn more about the WNV, steps you can take to protect yourself and what you can do to help lower the risk for the city. The workshop will be at Commerce City Hall located downtown at 1119 Alamo Street and will start at 7 P.M. The presentation will last a little over an hour followed by question and answer session.