KALAMAZOO, Mich. — With summer comes mosquitoes and as more people spend time outside, the higher the risk of getting bites.
The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department is working to keep people informed of potential diseases that mosquitoes can spread.
The health department is using a new type of trap this year to detect diseases in mosquitoes. In addition, they have two others.
All of the traps are placed in different locations throughout the county.
"There’s all different types and they can carry different diseases. It can be region specific as well," said Kalamazoo County Environmental Health Division Chief Lucus Pols.
Experts in Kalamazoo County are keeping a lookout for a couple types of mosquitoes including ones that spread Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) as well as Zika virus.
"We’re finding anywhere from ten to 20 per trap that we can send into the state to have tested," said Pols.
Pols said it is all about outreach and keeping people informed so they can be aware.
"The goal is with that is not to let people or animals be our sentinels to know if we have it in the area. That is why we are doing surveillance for EEE so that we can get those tests. We are testing mosquitoes every week. We send them over to the state lab," said Pols.
While there was a EEE outbreak in Kalamazoo County back in 2019; last year saw no detections. This year hasn't either.
"They test. Within a few days, we know. We’ve got non-detect so far, but we will are always ready and waiting to let the public know if we do get a positive," said Pols.
Pols said the traps have been out in the county since May, and they'll continue to use them into early fall as long as the weather holds.
He added any detections for the diseases are most likely to be in August or September.
"Small bites are mosquitoes, ticks, things like that, but they can be a big threat and being aware. Not every mosquito, not every tick is going to carry disease, but we want people to do prevention because prevention is the key for these," said Pols.
If you're planning on spending time outside this summer, the health department recommends using a mosquito spray with at least 40% DEET or any other EPA-registered spray.