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TIMELINE: Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in Travis, Williamson counties

Residents are asked to protect themselves from mosquito bites when outdoors and prevent mosquito breeding on their personal property.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — County leaders are currently monitoring samples after mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus in both Williamson and Travis counties. Human cases have also been reported in both counties.

Here's a timeline of announcements:

  • On Nov, 23, Williamson County officials said a sample collected in Cedar Park tested positive. It was collected on Nov. 19 from a site near Sun Chase Boulevard and Cypress Creek Road. This is the first time a sample collected there has tested positive.
  • On Nov. 6, Williamson County officials said a sample collected in Cedar Park tested positive. The sample was collected at a site near West New Hope Drive and Avenue of the Stars, near the H-E-B Center. There have now been 16 mosquito trap samples that have returned positive in the county, the highest since the program started in 2012.
  • On Oct. 7, Williamson County officials announced that a mosquito trap sample collected in the city of Granger tested positive for West Nile virus. This sample was taken from a trap site near North Colorado Street, marking the second time a sample here has tested positive this season. The other date was on Sept. 1. There have now been 15 positive samples collected in the county.
  • On Sept. 25, Austin Public Health said there have been 31 total mosquito pools positive for West Nile virus this year across Austin-Travis County. There have been three probable human cases of the virus this year in the county.
  • On Sept. 9, Williamson County officials said another sample collected in the Brushy Creek area of Round Rock has tested positive. The sample was taken near the Brushy Creek Community Center, marking the second positive result for the area in two weeks. There have now been 14 mosquito trap samples that have returned positive this year – the highest ever recorded since the program started in 2012.
  • On Sept. 3, the Williamson County and Cities Health District reported the second locally acquired human case of West Nile virus in the county for 2020. The person is in their 70s and lives in central Williamson County.
  • On Aug. 30, Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) officials said person who contracted West Nile Virus was home from the hospital and doing better.
  • On Aug. 28, the Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) reported the first human case in Williamson County for 2020. The Williamson County case is a person in their 40s in the southern area of the county. 
  • On Aug. 28, Williamson County officials said three trap samples collected in Georgetown this week tested positive – Sun City on Yellow Rose, Legacy Hills Park and Georgetown Village at Creekside Park. This marks the third positive sample at Yellow Rose Trail and the second at Creekside Park. Truck-mounted spraying is planned from Aug. 28-30.
  • On Aug. 24, Williamson County officials reported that a trap taken near the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park in Leander has tested positive. This is the third time this trap has tested positive this year.
  • On. Aug. 20, Georgetown officials said two more trap samples tested positive for West Nile on Yellow Rose Trail.
  • On Aug. 18, Austin Public Health reported the year's second probable human case of West Nile in Travis County. The first was reported on July 29.
  • On Aug. 13, officials said that a sample collected Tuesday in the Sun City neighborhood along Yellow Rose Trail tested positive.
  • On July 27, Williamson County officials said a sampling of mosquitoes taken at a trap near the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park tested positive for West Nile virus. It was the second time this trap has had mosquitoes test positive for in the three weeks prior to July 27.
  • On July 16, City of Austin leaders said a positive sample was discovered in the 78756 ZIP code. This marks the first sample identified in 2020 for the county.
  • On July 10, county leaders said a sample of mosquitoes collected near the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park also tested positive. The mosquitoes were taken on July 10 from a trap near FM 1431 and CR 175 as part of the Williamson County and Cities Health District’s (WCCHD) mosquito management program.
  • On July 16, officials reported that a follow-up sampling taken at two expanded traps near the park also tested positive. However, samples from the original trap tested negative.

Mosquitoes are present in Central Texas year-round, but the population is the most abundant and active from May through November. During this time, Austin Public Health's Rodent and Vector Control Program watches over the mosquito population and tests for mosquito-borne viruses. 

“Our community has the ability to help us prevent mosquito-borne viruses,” said Don Hastings, Austin Public Health Assistant Director for Environmental Health. “Let’s take the time to remove standing water, wear protective clothing when working outside, and avoid being outside when mosquitoes are active.”

The species that tested positive for West Nile virus is Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito), Williamson County said. The species has a flight range of about one mile.

Parks staff is conducting control efforts, treating standing water with larvicide and continuing to monitor and test.

WCCHD is urging everyone to be especially vigilant, given the proximity of outdoor activities at the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park and nearby neighborhoods.

Residents are asked to protect themselves from mosquito bites when outdoors and prevent mosquito breeding on their personal property.

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Experts recommend using an EPA-approved insect repellent, dressing in long sleeves and pants when outdoors – especially at dusk and dawn – and draining standing water in flower pots, pet dishes or clogged gutters. Any standing water that can’t be drained should be treated.

There have been no reported human cases of West Nile virus in Williamson County since 2017. There is no evidence mosquitoes can transmit COVID-19.

More information can be found at www.wcchd.org or at the Texas Department of State Health Services West Nile website at www.txwestnile.org.

Anyone with questions is asked to contact wcchd-info@wilco.org.

Symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headache and body aches, a skin rash on the trunk of the body, and swollen lymph nodes. The virus poses a higher risk to those over the age of 50, with even more severe illness that could include stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, vision loss and paralysis. 

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