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Mosquitoes Infected with West Nile Virus Found in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus have been found in Woodbridge.

The infected bugs carry the virus which can be spread to humans, horses, and other mammals. When contracted, the virus causes mild, flu-like symptoms, but those over 50-years-old can develop more serious illnesses such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), according to the Prince William County Health District.

Here’s more in a statement from the Health District office:

Mosquito testing is used to determine periods of greater risk of contracting West Nile Virus. The wide occurrence of positive mosquitoes indicates there is an increased risk of contracting the virus across Prince William County. Mosquitoes will continue to be trapped and tested regularly from sites in Prince William County. The County’s Mosquito Control Program has performed intensive treatment in the vicinity of the positive mosquito pools to kill adult and larval mosquitoes. The Prince William Mosquito Control program will continue its control efforts throughout the summer as needed based on future assessments.

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that is endemic in this region. Residents play a big role in disease prevention by paying special attention to eliminating mosquito breeding areas around homes and to protecting themselves from mosquito bites while outside from now until the first hard frost.

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

Very few people who contract West Nile suffer severe symptoms, the Health District office stated. There was one confirmed case of West Nile Virus in Prince William County in 2013.

The Prince William Health District recommends the following 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.

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