September 5, 2007 - Posted at 10:12 p.m. CDT
Pocahontas, AR-With football season in full force, and more people heading outside--the threat of the West Nile Virus could be returning to Region 8.
As much needed rain continues to fall in the area, along with it comes the hatching of mosquitoes.
"I think that we will see more mosquitoes following the rain. Everyone should protect themselves against West Nile Virus and against the mosquito biting them."
Terry Baker, the Arkansas Health Department's Regional Environmental Leader says indicators like the number of positively tested birds and mosquitoes lead him to believe, we are not in the clear, just yet.
"Northeast Arkansas still remains one of the highest threat areas in the state, or at least equal to West Arkansas," said Baker.
However, with recent droughtlike conditions, the mosquito population seemed to be extinct.
"One thing we've noticed is that mosquitoes are very sensitive to temperature changes and precipitation. If you get a dry period following a wet period, the populations just disappear," said Baker.
Those spraying for the pests say they too noticed a big difference.
"It changed quite a bit. It wasn't as bad when it was hot and dry, as when it was when it was wet," said J.B. Williams, Supervisor of the Pocahontas Street Department.
As the season of football and county fairs kicks off, even they are stepping up their efforts.
"We spray over there quite a bit extra when they are having ball games and stuff," said Williams.
That's something that's a big help, as many seem to forget about the threat as fall approaches.
"As the summer progresses and the mosquito population might dwindle, people start taking for granted that the West Nile Virus is not as prevalent as it was, and they may not take the precautions they should," said Baker.
As the rain is expected to fall for the next couple of days, the health department says remember it's that water standing in your yard or near your home is a real threat because it attracts mosquitoes that could potentially carry the West Nile Virus.