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Prince William Health District Reports Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus

Prince William Health DistrictResidents Reminded to Eliminate Standing Water and Protect Against Mosquito Bites

(Prince William County, Va.) – The Prince William Health District (PWHD) reports that mosquitoes collected on July 9, 2013 by the Prince William Mosquito Control Program have tested positive for the West Nile Virus (WNV), marking the first reported activity of the virus in the County for the 2013 season. The positive mosquitoes were collected from test areas at the Belmont Pump Station in Woodbridge.

Mosquito testing is used to determine periods of greater risk of contracting West Nile Virus. The Prince William Mosquito Control Program performed an intensive treatment in the vicinity of the positive mosquito pools to kill adult mosquitoes and breeding larvae in residential areas. The Prince William Mosquito Control Program will continue to monitor the area and possibly conduct an adulticide spray based on future trap numbers.

“Since most of the mosquito species that residents need to control breed in standing water within a few hundred feet of their homes, control measures around the home are the most effective way to prevent mosquito breeding and to reduce the risk from bites, “ PWHD Director, Dr. Alison Ansher said.

West Nile Virus is spread to birds, humans, horses and other mammals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people bitten by an infected mosquito do not get sick. People who do get sick usually suffer a mild, flu-like illness. Those older than age 50 are at greatest risk of serious illness, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Very few people who contract the virus suffer from these more severe symptoms.

The PWHD recommends the following tips to reduce exposure to mosquitoes:

§ Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing.

§ Use insect repellent products with no more than 50 percent DEET for adults and less than 10 percent for children. Follow label instructions when using insect repellents.

§ Turn over or remove containers in your yard where any water may collect, such as old tires, potted plant trays, buckets, and toys.

§ Eliminate any standing water in yards or on tarps or flat roofs.

§ Chlorinate or clean out birdbaths and wading pools every three to five days.

§ Clean roof gutters and downspout screens regularly. Mosquitoes breed and feed in standing water in roof gutters.

For more information on West Nile Virus, visit the Virginia Department of Health website at www.vdh.virginia.gov. For questions about mosquito control spraying or for opting out of spraying, contact the Prince William Gypsy Moth & Mosquito Control Branch at 703-792-6279. You may also follow the Health District on Twitter @PrinceWilliamHD or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PrinceWilliamHealthDistrict for more health information.

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