Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

West Nile virus was found in mosquitoes in Austin. Here's what to know.

A mosquito on someone's hand
James Jordan

For the first time this year, a pool of mosquitoes in Austin has tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to Austin Public Health.

The positive pool was located in the 78721 ZIP code of East Austin. West Nile is the most common mosquito-borne illness in the U.S. and can potentially cause high fevers, rashes and body aches. No human cases have been detected yet this year.

The city says it's now putting out more tests to see if the virus has spread elsewhere in Austin.

“Now that we have had that one positive in the 78721 ZIP code, we will re-trap that location,” said Aaron Urbanek, a senior health officer with APH's Environmental Vector Control Unit. “We will also trap four extra traps around that quarter-mile radius to get an idea of ... is it a bigger area than just that one little small area?”

Based on the results those pools produce, APH will then look for waterways that could have puddles of mosquito larvae.

Within the last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified the state's first malaria case in a human since 2003, in South Texas. Malaria is also contracted through mosquito bites. Urbanek said Austinites shouldn’t be too worried because the species that carries malaria isn't found in Central Texas.

Either way, APH said you should do what you can to protect yourself from mosquitoes.

Urbanek recommends the four D’s:

  • DRAIN any standing water around your property. It takes only a bottle cap full of water for mosquitoes to breed. Be sure to empty clogged rain gutters, flowerpots, toys and anything else outside that might be holding trapped water.
  • Wear DEET or other insect repellent when outside. The EPA has a list of recommended bug sprays.
  • DRESS appropriately when outside. Light-colored, loose-fitting, long-sleeve clothing is best.
  • Be extra mindful of mosquitoes at DUSK AND DAWN. The Aedes species that carry West Nile are most active at those times.
If you found this reporting valuable, please consider making a donation to support it. Your gift pays for everything you find on Thanks for donating today.

Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter, with a focus on Travis County. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @hayapanjw.
Related Content