Sara Story/Denton Journalist
Samples of mosquitoes in Denton tested positive for West Nile Virus, which is unusual this late in the year, so the city raised its mosquito risk level to 3.
There's a new concern for the City of Denton. Mosquito samples from North Lakes Park tested positive for West Nile Virus, forcing the city to take new precautions.
The Knouses live across the street from North Lakes Park, but they are staying indoors as much as possible.
"It's serious to me. I'd like to live to be at least 100," Lorece Knouse said.
The City of Denton enacted level three of its Mosquito Response Plan after samples taken from the park tested positive for the virus. While residents like the Knouses remain on high alert, the city says level three means there is a low to moderate risk.
"It does indicate to me that people need to be very cautious about minimizing exposure that they have. Use insect repellent. Stay inside during the peak hours of mosquitoes time-dusk and dawn, typically. Make sure you wear protective clothing. It's a good idea to make sure there's no standing water around your home," City of Denton Environmental Services Director Ken Banks said.
Banks said it is not uncommon for level three to be triggered; however, this year is unique because of the timing. Positive West Nile samples are typically taken in the July or August, not October.
"I personally think that there is a likelihood that the mosquitoes were not moving around that much this year because it was so oppressively hot," Banks said.
He said mosquitoes take advantage of new habitats as the weather changes, driving residents like the Knouses inside.
"It is just too much to take a risk on," Knouse said.
The City of Denton will continue to monitor and sample adult mosquitoes for the virus. They will post locations where disease-carrying mosquitoes are captured on the city's website.