Prairie Village taking steps to prevent spread of Zika mosquitos

Zika is carried by the Aedes species of mosquito.
Zika is carried by the Aedes species of mosquito.

In response to growing concerns about the spread of the Zika virus, Prairie Village officials this week announced plans to address areas that might attract the disease-carrying Aedes mosquito.

Public Works Director Keith Bredehoeft said his crews have begun to identify divots and cracks in the concrete drainage channels in the city that may retain pools of water. The Aedes aegypti mosquito lays its eggs in pools of standing water. Though the eggs won’t hatch if the water dries out, they can be reactivated up to eight months later by a fresh rain. Consequently, one of the primary methods to prevent the spread of the disease is to reduce pools of standing water wherever possible so that mosquitos can’t lay eggs in the first place.

Bredehoeft said the department intends to patch the drainage channel holes that it can reduce the number of potential egg-laying sites for the insects.

He noted, however, that there were areas that retain water in the city that crews won’t be able to fill in. In those instances, the city is prepared to use chemical treatments to ward off mosquitos.

“We will be evaluating our concrete channels over the next few weeks and identifying areas of concern,” Bredehoeft said. “I anticipate some small repairs and also using the anti-mosquito discs in larger areas.”

Prairie Village isn’t the only northeast Johnson County city take preventive steps against the disease. Fairway issued a warning to residents via email last week about the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses, and encouraging them to take steps like emptying flower pots, children’s pools, bird baths and other itmes that hold standing water.