Residents Reminded to Eliminate Standing Water and Protect Against Mosquito Bites
July 14, 2014
Prince William County – Mosquitoes collected during the month of July 2014 by the Prince William Mosquito Control Program have tested positive for the West Nile Virus, marking the first reported activity of the virus in the county for the 2014 season. Positive mosquitoes have been collected from test areas in Woodbridge, Va.
Mosquito testing is used to determine periods of greater risk of contracting West Nile Virus. The wide occurrence of positive mosquitoes indicates there is an increased risk of contracting the virus across Prince William County. Mosquitoes will continue to be trapped and tested regularly from sites in Prince William County. The County’s Mosquito Control Program has performed intensive treatment in the vicinity of the positive mosquito pools to kill adult and larval mosquitoes. The Prince William Mosquito Control program will continue its control efforts throughout the summer as needed based on future assessments.
West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that is endemic in this region. Residents play a big role in disease prevention by paying special attention to eliminating mosquito breeding areas around homes and to protecting themselves from mosquito bites while outside from now until the first hard frost.
Alison Ansher, MD, Director of the Prince William Health District said, “Since most of the mosquito species that residents need to control breed in standing water within a few hundred feet of their residence, control measures around the home are the most effective way to prevent mosquito breeding and to reduce the risk from bites.”
West Nile Virus spreads to birds, humans, horses and other mammals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people bitten by an infected mosquito do not get sick. People who do get sick usually suffer a mild, flu-like illness. Those older than age 50 are at greatest risk of serious illness, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Very few people who contract the virus suffer from these more severe symptoms. There was one confirmed human case of West Nile Virus disease reported in Prince William County in 2013.
The Prince William Health District recommends the following to reduce exposure to mosquitoes:
- Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing.
- Use insect repellent products with no more than 50 percent DEET for adults and less than 10 percent for children. Follow label instructions when using insect repellents.
- Turn over or remove containers in your yard where any water may collect, such as old tires, potted plant trays, buckets and toys.
- Eliminate any standing water in yards or on tarps or flat roofs.
- Chlorinate or clean out birdbaths and wading pools every three to five days.
- Clean roof gutters and downspout screens regularly. Mosquitoes breed and feed in standing water in roof gutters.
For more information on West Nile Virus, visit the Virginia Department of Health website at www.vdh.virginia.gov. For questions about mosquito control spraying or to opt out of spraying, contact Prince William Gypsy Moth & Mosquito Control at 703-792-6279. You may also follow the Prince William Health District on Twitter @PrinceWilliamHD or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PrinceWilliamHealthDistrict for more health information.