Mosquito traps test positive for West Nile Virus in Georgetown
Oct. 21 update: The mosquito traps that tested positive for West Nile Virus Oct. 11 came back negative this week. The City and WCCHD will continue expanded testing next week.
Two mosquito trap samples collected Oct. 11 in Georgetown have tested positive for West Nile virus. The traps were located in Geneva Park, 1021 Quail Valley Drive, and in Berry Creek, at Diamond Dove Trail and Airport Road.
This testing is part of the City of Georgetown’s participation in the Williamson County and Cities Health District’s (WCCHD) Integrated Vector Management program. The positive tests were indicated in lab results received Oct. 13 from the Texas Department of State Health Services lab in Austin.
West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States. In 2022, there have been four mosquito samples pools that returned positive for West Nile virus in Williamson County. These are the first positive traps in 2022 at these locations. The last positive trap collected at Geneva Park was in October 2018 and in October 2021 in Berry Creek..
The City and the Health District are encouraging everyone to be especially vigilant about protecting themselves from mosquito bites when outdoors and preventing mosquito breeding on their personal property. Recent rain and continued warm temperatures are prime breeding conditions for mosquitoes.
While there have been no reported incidences of human infection of West Nile virus in Williamson County this year, symptoms of infection may include fever, headache, and body aches, a skin rash on the trunk of the body, and swollen lymph nodes. Those age 50 and older and/or with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for severe symptoms, which may include stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, vision loss, paralysis, and in rare cases, death.
City of Georgetown parks staff will continue mosquito control efforts with the treatment of standing water with larvicide, and WCCHD will continue enhanced monitoring and testing, along with increased public outreach and education. The City is prepared to take additional action if necessary.
Mosquitoes are present in Central Texas year-round, but the population is largest and most active from May through November. During this period, WCCHD monitors the mosquito population and tests for mosquito-borne viruses.
The most important way to prevent West Nile virus is to reduce the number of mosquitoes where people work and play. Health officials strongly encourage everyone to remain vigilant about protecting themselves from mosquito bites and preventing mosquito breeding on their personal property. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, needing as little as one teaspoon. By draining all sources of standing water in and around your property, you reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.
What you can do
Eliminating places where mosquitoes can breed and reducing the chances of mosquito bites are the most effective lines of defense against exposure to West Nile virus. As part of its Fight the Bite campaign the Health District recommends the 3 Ds of mosquito safety:
- Drain standing water in flowerpots, pet dishes, or clogged gutters so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed and treat water that can’t be drained,
- Defend by using an EPA-approved insect repellent, and
- Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
For more information, go to the WCCHD website at www.wcchd.org or visit the Texas Department of State Health Services West Nile website at txwestnile.org.