The mosquito population in Sedgwick County is on the rise.
The number of trapped mosquitoes in the county more than doubled in one week's time. A report the week of June 3 shows 232 mosquitoes were trapped that week, and a second report out the week of June 10 showed a increase of 558 mosquitoes trapped.
Despite the increase, Sedgwick County officials say that's about the same number mosquitoes they tracked at the time just one year earlier in 2013 and right now we're still seeing relatively low levels of the insects in this area. The largest increase typically comes in late July and early August.
Nine mosquito traps are set up around the county, and officials use them to not only track mosquito numbers but also the species of those mosquitoes, particularly the Culex mosquito which are known to carry the West Nile virus.
"Most people who are infected with West Nile virus, 80 percent of them do not show any symptoms, 20 percent of them show cold like symptoms," explained Sedgwick County epidemiologist Christine Steward. "They could have muscle pain or fever, and less than one percent of people we're most concerned about, they're the ones who get the most severe disease and it can cause paralysis and even death."
So far in 2014, there have been no confirmed cases of the West Nile virus in Kansas. In 2013, there were 93 confirmed cases of the virus in Kansas and eleven of those were in Sedgwick County.
Sedgwick County health officials encourage residents to help prevent mosquito bites by using the "Three D's": Drain, Dress and Deet.
Drain any standing water around your home or property. If you have water bowls for pets outside, try to change out that water as often as possible.
Dress in clothes that cover your skin, especially when you are outside around dawn or dusk.
If you are going to be outdoors, use a mosquito repellant that contains Deet.