City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
First positive mosquito pool since 2018
Austin, Texas – The year’s first positive pool of mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus has been identified in the 78756-zipcode of Travis County.
West Nile Virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States. In 2019, there were no mosquito pools that returned positive for West Nile Virus in Travis County, but there were 119 positive pools across the state of Texas.
While there have been no incidences of human infection of West Nile Virus in Travis County this year, symptoms of infection may include fever, headache and body aches, a skin rash on the trunk of the body, and swollen lymph nodes. Those over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe illness, which may include stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, vision loss, and paralysis.
Mosquitoes are present in Central Texas year-round, but the population is largest and most active from May through November. During this period, Austin Public Health's Rodent and Vector Control Program monitors the mosquito population and tests for mosquito-borne viruses.
The most important way to prevent West Nile Virus is to reduce the number of mosquitoes where people work and play. Mosquitoes can only breed in standing water, but only need 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.
“Our community has the ability to help us prevent mosquito-borne viruses,” said Don Hastings, Austin Public Health Assistant Director for Environmental Health. “Let’s take the time to remove standing water, wear protective clothing when working outside, and avoid being outside when mosquitoes are active.”
Fight the Bite Day and Night with the Four Ds:
- Dusk through dawn: Although different species of mosquitoes are active at different times of day, the species that spread West Nile Virus are most active between dusk and dawn.
- Dress: Wear pants and long sleeves when you are outside. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing; mosquito repellent clothing is also available
- 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 view Austin Public Health’s arbovirus surveillance map, visit www.austintexas.gov/department/environmental-rodent-and-vector-control. For more information on West Nile Virus, visit www.austintexas.gov/westnile.