With warmer nights on the way, you’re about to see a lot more mosquitos. That means bug bites, which can not only be a nuisance, but carry dangerous diseases. Every summer the Vermont Agency of Agriculture partners with the Department of Health to check mosquitos for viruses weekly. They start mosquito surveillance the first or second week of June. This year they’re starting July 5th. Agency of Agriculture officials say getting enough cars for the team to travel the state has always been a challenge. This year, the state didn’t have enough for the agency to rent out. They considered getting additional cars from Enterprise, but say it would’ve been five times as costly. The Agency of Agriculture partners with the Department of Health to track mosquito-borne illnesses in Vermont. The decision to delay tracking was discussed together. They collect a variety of species from roughly 100 locations, which are then tested for viruses. The most common one in Vermont is EEE, although the last detected cases were in 2016. “They’re tested for West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine, and Syphilis. That helps the Department of Health track areas of concern or where there’s elevated risk,” said Patti Casey, the Agency of Agriculture’s environmental surveillance program manager. Removing standing water from your property and using bug spray are some ways to keep mosquitos away. If you start feeling sick after getting bitten, they recommend seeing a healthcare provider.
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