West Nile virus top of mind for some after death in NC

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The deaths of 10 people in Texas from the West Nile virus and a recent death in North Carolina have people in Charlotte on the lookout for mosquitoes.

The downpours over the weekend left standing water all over Charlotte. It can be a breeding ground for mosquito larvae, which take a week to become full-grown mosquitoes.

Photographer Amanda Parker expected it during her shoot Monday at Freedom Park.

“It’s definitely going to be buggy, especially in the grassy areas with the water around,” she said.

“We've definitely seen more in our back yard than normal,” area resident Jill Fowler said.

Fowler showed Eyewitness News a bite on her daughter Mia's leg, and then found a new one.

“We have a new one here, too,” she said. “That was probably from yesterday.”

West Nile is top of mind right now after the virus killed a man in Wayne County, N.C., near Goldsboro.

There were also 10 deaths and 200 sicknesses near Dallas, Texas, leading to the biggest outbreak in the U.S. since 2004.

“We’ve had more complaints over the past couple of weeks,” said James Bjorneboe, who runs the mosquito control program in Mecklenburg County.

He said there are two dozen species of mosquitoes that carry diseases like West Nile and encephalitis.

He urges homeowners to check their yards.

To fight mosquitoes, practice something called "tip and toss." If it has water in it, tip it over and toss it out.

In a short drive around town Monday, Eyewitness News found standing water in a recycle bin, an old cooler and old tires.

Those are things Bjorneboe and his team won't treat. They focus on ditches, ponds and swamps.

“We only treat standing water for larvae. We don’t treat for adults,” he said.  

So taking away their breeding ground early is the key.

For mosquito complaints, you can call 704-336-5101.