Irving Kids “Fight the Bite” Against West Nile Virus

Lee Park Recreation Center students learn how to protect themselves from mosquitoes

The city of Irving's hopes that by educating children of all ages about mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus, the city can actively fight against the virus this summer.

Kids at Lee Park Recreation Center’s summer program are getting inducted into a special mosquito swatting team to keep their families safe in an effort to “Fight the Bite.” 

The city is reaching out to almost 350 people by targeting all seven of its recreational facilities including the senior center. And on top of educating them about the dangers of mosquito bites, they're also providing free larvacides and insect repellents at each location. 

"We're testing an average of about 12 traps a week and self-testing in our lab two to five traps a week… We reserve that for our residents when they call that in," said Walter Ritchie, Irving's Vector Control Manager.

Ritchie hoped as awareness grows about the West Nile virus, fear will diminish. 

"They'll remember this," Ritchie said. "They're having fun. They're coloring pictures, they're learning words they probably wouldn't have learned in the summer, and so, I know they're going to go back home and let their parents know what they learned today."

The city's goal is to have one-thousand pledges signed by students to actively take action against the West Nile virus.

Kameron Vaughn, 11, said he's learned a lot during a special session on Monday. 

"There is the 4 Ds. There's drain, dress, dawn and dusk, and deet," Kameron said.

Each student at the summer program took an oath, promising to do their part in telling others about the West Nile virus. 

"It can make you very sick and it's just when your mosquito bite is very infected," Kameron said.

The week of educational visits ends with a car show on Saturday in downtown Irving.

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