With recent rains preceded by a mild winter, this summer has been an active mosquito season. Of particular concern are mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus (WNV).
Mosquitoes are present in Central Texas year round, but the population is largest and most active from April through September.
During the season, adult mosquito populations are monitored and tested for mosquito-borne viruses by the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. As of Aug. 10, 2012, Travis County has seen a total of 73 mosquito pools testing positive for WNV which is the highest number of positive pools detected since surveillance activities began in 2003.
The four Ds: ·
- Dusk and Dawn: Try to stay indoors at dusk and dawn. That is the time when mosquitoes likely to carry the infection are most active.
- Dress: Wear pants and long sleeves when you are outside.
- DEET: Apply insect repellent that contains DEET. Read and follow label instructions. Spray both exposed skin and clothing with repellent.
- Drain: Get rid of standing water in your yard and neighborhood. Old tires, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, birdbaths and wading pools can be breeding sites for mosquitoes.
To report a mosquito problem, call 512-978-0370 or send an email.
Most people who are infected with the West Nile Virus will not have any type of illness. It is estimated that 20% of the people who become infected will develop West Nile fever with mild, flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands. Persons older than 50 are at a higher risk for severe disease. Read more about symptoms and what you need to know about West Nile Virus.
In Texas there have been more than 351 human WNV cases and 15 deaths reported this year, including one in Travis County. Almost 80 percent of the statewide cases reside near the Dallas area.
HHSD has been actively working with community partners to increase awareness about the situation and promote preventive practices that can decrease transmission of WNV. An alert was sent to the Travis County Medical Society to remind physicians of West Nile Virus symptoms that patients might present, and tips have been provided through an Austin Energy utility bill insert, news releases, media interviews, web postings and other social media vehicles.