Mosquitoes Carrying West Nile Virus Found In Central Austin Neighborhood

Jul 16, 2020

A pool of mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus has been detected in Central Austin, health officials announced Thursday. 

Austin Public Health identified the pool in ZIP code 78756, which includes the Rosedale neighborhood. This is the first positive pool detected in the county since 2018. But officials say there have not been any known cases of human infection so far this year. 

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause fever, headache, body aches, a skin rash and swollen lymph nodes. People over the age of 50 are at a higher risk of developing a severe illness, which could include tremors, vision loss and paralysis. 

APH’s Rodent and Vector Control Program tests for mosquito-borne viruses in the county in May through November, a time when the mosquito population is at its largest in Central Texas, the health authority says. 

“The most important way to prevent West Nile Virus is to reduce the number of mosquitoes where people work and play,” APH said in a press release. 

Mosquitoes breed only in standing water, so the health authority advises residents to drain any standing water around their property — clogged rain gutters, flowerpots, birdbaths, wading pools, etc.

It also encourages people to wear pants and long sleeves when outside, use insect repellent that contains DEET on exposed skin and clothing, and avoid being outside when mosquitoes are most active. The species of mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus are most active between dusk and dawn, APH says.

More information on the virus can be found here.

Got a tip? Email Marisa Charpentier at mcharpentier@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @marisacharp.

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