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WCU Studies ways to reduce mosquito-borne illnesses

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This time of year, Western North Carolina (WCU) sees cases of La Crosse encephalitis caused from mosquito bites, often in children.

There's no vaccine, so WCU is studying ways to reduce the burden.

Even though the mountains have fewer mosquitoes than other parts of the state, the western counties see more mosquitoes carrying the disease.

The university is studying new prevention techniques using specialized traps.

“Where they can find the tree holes where the larvae develop and basically take these bio-sites to those tree holes and knock out that larval population,” said Brian Byrd, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences.

Byrd said the university study is ongoing to understand the species that are here, and to be prepared for the next introduced mosquito-borne illness.

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He says prevention is the cure and reinforced the "three D's"--drain water from your yards, dress to cover yourself, and defend your skin with approved repellents.

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