- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 3, 2002

Health officials began notifying Fairfax County residents yesterday that tests have confirmed the presence of mosquitoes infected with malaria in Herndon.
The infected mosquitoes were found Tuesday night near the Loudoun County border. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes turned up in Loudoun last week.
They were the first malaria-carrying mosquitoes captured in Fairfax County, a week after others were caught in Loudoun County and three weeks after a 19-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy there were diagnosed with malaria.
"Mosquitoes don't recognize county borders. This shows we have a regional problem," said Fairfax County Health Director Dr. Carol Sharrett.
Officials said a contractor would begin "a heavy, aggressive larviciding" in a one-mile radius around the trap site last night. They were not sure how the infected mosquitoes got there, but saw several possibilities.
"Mosquitoes can be introduced into the country from a plane," said Assistant Health Director Gloria Ayensu, noting they were found a short distance from Washington Dulles International Airport. She said another possibility was that the mosquitoes got the malaria by biting infected people who had contracted the disease overseas. "This is a very international area, people travel," she said.
Officials also said it was possible the infected mosquitoes have been in Herndon for some time but went unnoticed because no one was looking for them.
Metropolitan-area governments had been checking out mosquitoes throughout the summer, looking for species that carry the West Nile virus.
Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed yesterday that West Nile killed a woman who received a kidney transplant last month.
First tests of the kidney donor have been negative for West Nile, according to Health Department Secretary Dr. Georges C. Benjamin.
Also yesterday, officials said an Anne Arundel County man is probably sickened by West Nile the 12th reported case of West Nile virus among humans in Maryland this year.
The hunt for malaria-carrying anopheles mosquitoes began after the Loudoun teenagers were diagnosed.
Like other Northern Virginian governments and Montgomery County, Fairfax set out mosquito traps to learn if the anopheles is present.
Health officials have said residents throughout the metropolitan area have contracted malaria this year, but they caught it while traveling in other nations.
Dr. Sharrett said a Fairfax County resident recently suffered the fevers and chills of malaria, but that resident likely was infected while traveling overseas.
In 2000, Virginia had 55 cases of malaria, of which 23 were in Fairfax County. Dr. Sharrett said all 55 cases were linked to travel.
In Montgomery County, health director Carol Garvey said 35 to 55 residents are afflicted every year, and generally all are travelers who come home with the disease.
Health officials have said the strain of malaria found in mosquitoes near the Potomac triggers an unpleasant but easily treatable form of malaria. More virulent strains of malaria still kill millions each year in the developing world.
Still, local and federal health officials said the findings have prompted additional anti-malaria measures, including more larvicide application in areas where mosquitoes breed and new traps. Additional adult mosquito spraying is also under consideration.
The infected Fairfax County blood suckers were found in a mosquito trap along Mustang Drive south of Herndon, just east of Dulles International Airport several miles from Broad Run and Lansdowne in Loudoun County where malaria carriers were captured by Clarke Mosquito Control.
Entomologists say that mosquitoes almost never travel more than two miles. More often they stay within a half-mile perimeter.
On Tuesday, Montgomery County had 10 traps set out near Edwards Ferry Landing, just across the Potomac River from Loudoun County. Those traps are closer to Broad Run and Lansdowne than the Fairfax County malaria pool.
Dr. Sharrett said traps will be set and tests will continue to search for malaria carriers, and larvicide will be applied in a one-mile radius where they are found.
Entomologist Don Roberts has said the mosquitoes and their larvae are killed by the first freeze and "It is very likely this outbreak is over."

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