Sample collected in Union County: Mosquito tests positive for West Nile virus
The Southern Seven Health Department reports that on July 17, a mosquito sample from Union County returned a positive test result for the West Nile virus.
The health department reported in a July 26 news release that a positive test result means that one of the mosquitoes tested from the sample was carrying the West Nile virus.
However, a mosquito may fly up to 15 miles in search of a blood meal and the exact area where the mosquito contracted the virus cannot be determined.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected Culex pipiens, the“house” mosquito.
Mild cases of West Nile virus infections may cause a slight fever or headache.
More severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death.
Symptoms usually occur from three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus, the health department advised.
The health department offers precautions which people can take to reduce the number of mosquitoes around their home and protect themselves from being bitten.
Precautions include practicing the three “R’s”: reduce, repel and report.
Reduce: make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut.
Eliminate, or refresh each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.
Repel: when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions.
Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
Report: report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.
The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito eggs.
For more information on West Nile virus, visit the health department’s website at www.southern7.org.