MOSQUITO TRAP TESTS POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS IN SOUTHWEST WILLIAMSON COUNTY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Deb Strahler
512-248-7629

June 17, 2024 – A mosquito trap sample collected in the 78729 zip code has tested positive for West Nile virus. The positive test was indicated in lab results received on 6/17/24 from the Texas Department of State Health Services lab in Austin.
The positive sample was collected from a trap site in City of Austin/Williamson County on 6/11/24.

This is the first reported West Nile virus positive trap of the 2024 season. In 2023, there were 35 mosquito trap samples that returned positive samples for West Nile virus in Williamson County. There was one human case of West Nile virus reported in Williamson County in 2023.

“With the recent rain events, we are seeing large increases in mosquitoes throughout Williamson County. As we near the holiday weekend and enjoy outdoor activities I encourage everyone to remove any standing water and use insect repellent if spending time outdoors.” Jason Fritz, MPH, Integrated Vector Management Program Lead.
Mosquitoes are present in Central Texas year-round, but the population is largest and most active from May through November. During this period, WCCHD monitors the mosquito population and tests for mosquito-borne viruses.

Symptoms of infection may include fever, headache, and body aches, a skin rash on the trunk of the body, and swollen lymph nodes. Those age 50 and older and/or with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for severe symptoms, which may include stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, vision loss, paralysis, and in rare cases, death.

The most important way to prevent West Nile virus is to reduce the number of mosquitoes where people live, work, and play. Health officials strongly encourage everyone to remain vigilant about protecting themselves from mosquito bites and preventing mosquito breeding on their personal property. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, needing as little as one teaspoon. By draining all sources of standing water in and around your property, you reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.

What you can do:
Eliminating places where mosquitoes can breed and reducing the chances of mosquito bites are the most effective lines of defense against exposure to West Nile Virus. As part of its Fight the Bite campaign the Health District recommends the 3 Ds of mosquito safety:
• Drain standing water in flowerpots, pet dishes, or clogged gutters so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed and treat water that can’t be drained,
• Defend by using an EPA-registered insect repellent, and
• Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
For more information, go to the WCCHD website at www.wcchd.org or visit the Texas Department of State Health Services West Nile website at txwestnile.org.
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