Mosquito pool tests positive for West Nile virus in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – A mosquito pool tested positive this week for West Nile virus in San Antonio, the first of the year.

According to the Metro Health Department, the infected pool trap was collected on the Southwest Side near Loop 410 and Ray Ellison Boulevard, the same area where the first positive test occurred last year.

Confirmation of the mosquito pool testing positive for the disease was made Wednesday.

Future positive WNV mosquito pools will be updated on Metro Health’s website.

In an effort to prevent mosquitoes from invading the nearby neighborhoods, Metro Health’s Vector Control program will perform pest control treatment and fogging services next week, a news release said.

Increased rainfall may result in increased hatching of mosquito eggs. Metro Health asks residents to follow these safety preventative measures:

Remove Standing Water

These actions can help reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas where people live. After heavy rain, residents should empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out containers that hold water, including:

  • Pet water bowls
  • Flowerpot saucers
  • Discarded tires
  • Pool covers
  • Trash cans
  • Rain barrels

Improve Sanitation

When water is contaminated with organic matter (i.e., animal waste, grass and leaves), the chances that mosquito larvae will survive may increase. Contaminated matter provides food for larvae to eat.

Protect Yourself

Using an insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on skin not covered by clothing is very important. Safety measures when using repellent include:

  • Spraying insect repellent on clothing (mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing)
  • Insect repellents should not be used on young infants
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks to protect exposed skin during dusk and dawn, which is when mosquitoes are active
  • Using air conditioning or making sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering an individual’s home

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Nile virus mostly spreads to people from a bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes then spread the virus to people and other animals by biting them.

West Nile virus cases occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines or medications to prevent or treat the virus.

Most people infected with the virus do not feel sick. About one in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms such as headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rashes. About one in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).

Severe illness can occur in people of any age, but people over 60 years of age are at greater risk for severe illness if they are infected. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and those who have received organ transplants are also at greater risk.

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