A mosquito trap sample collected Nov. 30 in downtown Georgetown has tested positive for West Nile virus. 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 test was indicated in lab results received Dec. 2 from the Texas Department of State Health Services lab in Austin.
The sample was collected from a trap near Main and Third streets.
West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States. In 2021, there have been 12 mosquito samples pools that returned positive for West Nile virus in Williamson County. This is the first positive trap in 2021 at this location. The last positive trap collected at this location was October 2017.
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.