Mosquito Surveillance Program

Image of a mosquito.

Mosquito Surveillance Program

Since the late 1970's, the Scott County Health Department has been a participant in Iowa State University's mosquito surveillance program. The goal of the program is to monitor mosquito activity throughout the State. This monitoring serves as an early warning system for the presence of mosquito-borne encephalitis in communities.

Mosquito Surveillance

Photo of a mosquito trap.In order to monitor the mosquito population, light traps that operate 7 days a week from dawn to dusk are placed in four locations throughout Scott County. Monday through Friday, Health Department staff collects the mosquitoes from the traps and then they are sent to Iowa State University for counting and identification. At times, additional techniques are used to trap mosquitoes for identification.

Scott County Mosquito counts:

Sentinel Chicken Surveillance

Photo of a flock of sentinel chickens.Another component of the surveillance system to check for encephalitis in the area involves maintaining a flock of sentinel chickens. Every Wednesday, blood samples are taken from the chickens. The blood is also sent to the State Hygienic Laboratory to be analyzed for signs that mosquitoes carrying encephalitis have bitten the chickens.

Dead Bird Surveillance

Dead or dying crows and blue jays testing positive for the West Nile Virus (WNV) can be the first indicator that WNV is present in the area. As part of surveillance activities Scott County Health Department collected dead birds for testing from the years 2001 to 2005. The Health Department will no longer be collecting dead birds because the virus is known to be in the area

If you discover a dead crow or blue jay simply dispose of the bird using the attached guidelines:

There is no evidence that WNV can be transferred by handling dead birds. However, proper handling of any dead animal is necessary to reduce the possibility of any health risk.

Control and Prevention

If the count and blood samples from the chickens indicate a cause for concern, the Iowa Department of Public Health may decide to issue a warning to residents to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquitoes. One of the best and most effective ways to prevent mosquito bites is personal protection and the elimination of mosquito breeding grounds. To find out what you need to do to protect yourself please visit the following link.