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    Shoo, fly: MEDDAC soldiers track mosquitoes

    Shoo, fly: MEDDAC soldiers track mosquitoes

    Photo By Lisa Tourtelot | Spc. Domonique Winston, an environmental health technician and Detroit native,...... read more read more



    Story by Lisa Tourtelot 

    Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center

    FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. - Arizona is not often associated with the humidity that generally attracts mosquitoes, but those flying bloodsuckers are indigenous to every region on Earth except Antarctica.

    Unless you have plans to move to a frozen wasteland, dealing with mosquitoes is an important detail in maintaining good health.

    That is where the environmental health team at Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., comes in.

    Environmental health specialists provide myriad services from inspecting food before it’s sold at the commissary to collecting pests and testing them for communicable diseases.

    One of those pests here is the mosquito, which can carry illnesses like West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever.

    “What we do is we collect them in a trap, then we segregate them by sex, male and female, then we ship those off to Public Health Command, where they actually test them for those specific illnesses,” said 1st Lt. Sean Sullivan, the environmental health chief and Corpus Christi, Texas, native.

    In 24 hours, a single trap can catch about 20-25 mosquitos. If the trap catches significantly more than that, then the environmental health team can notify the post to increase pest control efforts in that area.

    “This is more of awareness and surveillance method of getting data on all those illnesses,” said Sullivan. “So if we’re seeing a high concentration, it can help the public with pest management, applying pesticides more in one area to control them.”

    Although Dengue Fever hasn’t officially been reported in Arizona, it has been reported in Mexico and health officials are hoping that persistent tracking of mosquito populations will prevent further spread of the illness.

    Although West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever are local concerns, Sullivan said a mosquito bite should not be cause for panic.

    “Of course [people] are going to be bit by mosquitos, but they’re not always going to catch those diseases,” said Sullivan.

    Sullivan advised that the symptoms to look out for include high fever and chills, and to let your provider know if you have these symptoms and may have been bitten by a mosquito.

    Prevention, however, is the best medicine.

    “We always recommend wearing some kind of bug repellent when you’re out in the hours of dusk and dawn,” Sullivan said. “If you’re going to do [physical training] or any kind of work during those times, and during mosquito season which is around March until about October timeframe, especially when there’s lots of precipitation, just wearing that repellent.”

    The Centers for Disease Control recommend DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products for mosquito repellent.

    For more information about the proper use of mosquito repellent, visit



    Date Taken: 09.09.2015
    Date Posted: 09.28.2015 15:40
    Story ID: 177418
    Location: FORT HUACHUCA, AZ, US 
    Hometown: CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, US
    Hometown: DETROIT, MI, US
    Hometown: SAN LORENZO, CA, US

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