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TIMELINE: Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in Central Texas

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

County leaders are currently monitoring samples after mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus in both Williamson and Travis County. 

Here's a timeline of announcements:

  • Sept. 2: A mosquito trap sample in Granger tested positive for West Nile virus. Williamson County and Cities Health District discovered the positive test as part of its Integrated Vector Management program. The sample was taken from a trap near N. Colorado St. where another trap site tested positive on Aug. 24. This is the sixth trap to test positive and seventh West Nile-positive trap reported in Williamson County.
  • Aug. 26: Austin Public Health announces that four West Nile-positive mosquito pools have been identified within the 78744 ZIP code within the last two weeks. In 2020, there were 36 positive mosquito pools in Travis County and 1,389 positive pools across the state of Texas, and just four confirmed West Nile virus cases. 
  • Aug. 25: A mosquito trap sample collected in the City of Granger has tested positive for West Nile virus. The positive sample was taken from a trap site near N. Colorado St. The last date a positive sample was collected was Aug. 17, 2021. This is the sixth reported West Nile virus positive trap of the 2021 season in Williamson County, and the fifth time this trap has tested positive this year.
  • Aug. 4: A mosquito trap sample collected in the City of Granger has tested positive for West Nile virus. The positive sample was taken from a trap site near North Colorado Street. The last date a positive sample was collected was June 29, 2021. This is the fourth reported West Nile virus positive trap of the 2021 season in Williamson County, and the third time this trap has tested positive this year. 
  • July 1: Williamson County announces two more positive results from sites in Granger and Taylor. These just results were received on June 20.
  • June 7: A mosquito trap sample collected in the City of Granger has tested positive for West Nile virus, according to a county press release. Williamson County officials said the positive sample was taken from a trap site near N. Colorado St. The last date a positive sample was collected from this location was Oct. 6, 2020. It is the first reported West Nile Virus positive trap of the 2021 season, and the earliest occurrence since the program’s start in 2013, according to county officials. In 2020, there were 17 mosquito trap samples that returned positive for West Nile virus in Williamson County, which was the highest amount ever recorded since the program’s inception. Three people in Williamson County were reported to have West Nile virus in 2020.

Mosquitoes are present in Central Texas year-round, but the population is the most abundant and active from May through November.

What you can do to prevent mosquitos:

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 three Ds of mosquito safety:

  • Drain standing water in flower pots, 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-registered insect repellent, and
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.

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. 

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.

WATCH: How you can protect yourself from diseases carried by mosquitoes

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