Four human West Nile cases in Travis County confirmed
CORRECTION: There were four investigated West Nile virus cases, not confirmed (as previously published). While there are no current cases in Travis County, there is still evidence of the virus in the community with two positive mosquito pools, and outdoor precautions should be taken after recent rain. We will continue to monitor and keep you updated if any West Nile cases occur during this mosquito season.
AUSTIN, Texas – As part of routine monitoring for mosquito-borne diseases, including the West Nile Virus, Austin Public Health’ (APH) Environmental Vector Control Program has identified a second positive mosquito pool for West Nile Virus in the 78759 zip code. These positive pools and cases show that the West Nile Virus is in our community and precautions should be followed.
“The Environmental Vector Control Program provides education, information and ideas on techniques that can be used by residents to mitigate or eliminate mosquitoes in the area,” said Marcel Elizondo, Interim Assistant Director for Environmental Health Services. “By removing standing water and using prevention tools we keep ourselves, our families and communities safe.”
The first positive pool of the year was detected this time last month in the 78721 zip code. In 2021, there were eight positive mosquito pools in Travis County and 1,515 positive pools across the state of Texas, and 77 confirmed West Nile virus cases.
About 20 percent of people nationwide infected with West Nile Virus develop symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Of those infected, few develop further serious illnesses affecting the central nervous system. People over 60 years of age are at greater risk of developing serious disease, as are those with medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease. Organ transplant recipients are also at risk for more severe forms of disease.
West Nile Virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States. It is typically spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile Virus is not spread through coughing, sneezing, or touching other people or live animals.
Know the dangers and fight the bite with the “Four D’s”:
- Drain standing water: Mosquitoes breed in standing water and need as little as one teaspoon. Emptying water that accumulates in toys, tires, trash cans, buckets, clogged rain gutters, and plant pots will deny mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs and reproduce.
- Dusk to Dawn: Although different species of mosquitoes are active at different times of day, the Culex mosquito that spreads West Nile Virus is 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 repellant: Use an EPA-registered repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone. Apply on both exposed skin and clothing.
Mosquitoes are present in Central Texas year-round, but the population is largest and most active from May through November. During this period, the APH Environmental Vector Control Program monitors the mosquito population.
For more information on West Nile Virus, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/WestNile. For additional information about APH Environmental Vector Control and mosquito monitoring programs, visit https://austintexas.gov/department/environmental-vector-control.