HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A mosquito trapped in Cabell County has tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.
The health department has been monitoring West Nile virus in the mosquito populations by trapping the mosquitoes and submitting them to the West Virginia Office of Laboratory Services for viral testing, according to a news release, as sporadic cases of West Nile virus occur each year across West Virginia.
Residents are urged to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites that can potentially cause illness. Steps include using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing.
The county health department, which has an active mosquito surveillance team to monitor samples, is working with residents and businesses in the affected area to eliminate all possible mosquito breeding areas, according to the release. Any complaints of heavy mosquito activity are being investigated.
“West Nile virus, like other mosquito-borne diseases such as La Crosse encephalitis, can cause symptoms that include a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or a body rash,” said Dr. Michael Kilkenny, physician director for the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, in the release.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection. Kilkenny said most people infected will have no symptoms. According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.
“You can significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by eliminating potential places for standing water where mosquitoes love to breed, such as bird baths, tires, flower pots, wading pools and other containers,” said Karen Hall-Dundas, director of environmental health at the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.
“Don’t forget to keep gutters clean and flowing and drill holes into the bottom of recycling or garbage containers to prevent water from stagnating. Make sure to repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes from entering your home. Change out water in bird baths and pet watering bowls weekly and place screening on rain barrels.”
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