This one however was seriously injured.
By Lanessa Hill, USAG PAO
Trapping mosquitoes will soon be the focus for some researchers at the Forest Glen Annex. Researchers from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Vector Control Department will be placing multiple mosquito traps around the installation to determine species and count the numbers collected.
West Nile Virus (WNV) was first isolated from an adult woman in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937 and the ecology characterized in Egypt in the 1950’s. Then in 1957, during an outbreak in Israel, the virus became recognized as a cause of severe human meningitis or encephalitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain) in elderly patients. In 1999, WNV appeared in North America, with encephalitis reported in humans and horses. The subsequent spread in the U.S. is an important milestone in the evolving history of this virus.
When West Nile Viruswas first detected in the U.S. in 1999, only four states (New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maryland) had reports of WNV in animals, birds, and/or mosquitoes. By the end of 2005, WNV had been reported throughout the continental U.S.
In 2002, 4 novel routes of WNV transmission to humans were documented for the first time: 1) blood transfusion, 2) organ transplantation, 3) transplacental transfer, and 4) breastfeeding. In 2004, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that more than 1,000 blood donors had tested positive for WNV in the U.S., making [it] one of the most common illnesses that can be acquired through transfusions.
The height of the WNV outbreak in the U.S. occurred during 2002 and 2003. In 2002, WNV infected 4,156 people nationwide and claimed 284 lives, making that year one of the deadliest mosquito-borne illness years in recent U.S. history. In 2003, there were 9,862 cases of WNV reported with 264 deaths.
While Fort Detrick was able to dodge WNV in 2001 by successfully locating and eliminating potential mosquito breeding areas, the spread of the virus overwhelmed the entire northeast region, finally landing at Fort Detrick in July 2002, with the discovery of the first WNV infected bird. Later, during August 2002, WNV infected mosquitoes were found at Fort Detrick.
The result of finding WNV infected birds and mosquitoes at Fort Detrick was stepped-up efforts to minimize or eliminate mosquito breeding areas, including coordinated efforts between Industrial Hygiene/Environmental Health Office, Environmental Management Office, and Directorate of Public Works (DPW). Together, they inspected and cleaned out storm drains, stocked ponds with mosquito-eating fish, and applied an environmentally safe larvicide to areas with standing, stagnant water.
This year, the same successful and effective measures have been taken. While heavy rains and numerous construction sites continue to present a challenge, Fort Detrick is confident that ongoing efforts, continued surveillance (particularly at construction sites), and early application of a larvicide will once again provide uniformed military members, civilians, family members, and guests a safe, comfortable summer.