We Regret to Inform You Central Texans May Now Add “West Nile Virus” to the Worry Jar

Another reason to stay inside this summer

Austin Public Health took a break from extremely distressing news about COVID-19 to announce a positive pool of mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus has been identified in Austin – the first positive ID since 2018. The pool was found in the 78756 zip code, which includes the Rosedale neighborhood in Central Austin.

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-born disease, and right now it’s prime mosquito season. There have not yet been any documented cases of human infection in 2020. But just so you know, symptoms may include, per APH: “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.”

The best way to avoid infection is stay indoors, especially during times of day when mosquitoes are most active. APH offers the following guidance to “Fight the Bite Day and Night With the 4 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. 

Read more about West Nile Virus on Austin Public Health’s website.

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