Mosquitoes Bring Threat of Dengue

It doesn't take much for mosquitoes to find a breeding ground " just about a half inch of water, according to McAllen Health Director Josh Ramirez. Despite the current drought conditions in the Valley, the tropical, moist weather provides just enough for mosquitoes to fill the air.

Ramirez said not only does this cause a nuisance, it's also a health concern.

"We have the threat right now of dengue, Ramirez said. Dengue has been in the area forever, it's brought (here) a lot more because we're one of the main ports of entry to the United States - we have a lot more people coming and going all the time."

Ramirez said right now, there are dozens of confirmed cases of dengue in the neighboring Mexican cities of Matamoros and Reynosa. So far there are none in the Valley, but all that could change if people do not take the proper precautions.

"One mosquito that could carry dengue, could spread through thousands of people right away, Ramirez said. It TMs the perfect climate, that breeds the perfect mosquito, that carries the dengue."

Cameron County Interim Director of Environmental Health Gus Olivares said with the heat lasting longer and longer each year, fighting mosquitoes and the diseases they carry is becoming almost a year-round issue.

"Dengue has been here for a while and we tend to just put it aside, but it is a concern, Ramirez said. We've got to remember these diseases are here and we just have to be proactive and take care of ourselves when we go outdoors."

Much like other mosquito-transmitted diseases, a person infected with dengue tends to show flu-like symptoms and even a rash. There is no vaccine or cure for it, so it could prove deadly for those with weak immune systems.

"If you don't have to be out there don't, but if you do wear repellant," Olivares said.

Cameron County Environmental Health crews are monitoring the Brownsville area which has received the most rain recently to determine if mosquito spraying is necessary.

Spraying at Isla Blanca Park will begin tonight.

To report standing water in Cameron County call the Environmental Health Department at 956-247-3599.