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‘West Nile Virus is one of several mosquito-borne diseases that occurs in our area’

During hot summer months lounging by the beach, we often think of sharks as one of the most menacing creatures in the world. 

But mosquitoes and the viruses they carry pose a very imminent threat.

From the Prince William Health Department: 

Alison Ansher, MD, director of the Prince William Health District said, “Most of the mosquito species that carry disease breed in standing water within a few hundred feet of homes, especially after the recent heavy rains. Taking steps to prevent mosquito breeding around the home is the most effective way to reduce the risk from bites.”=

Remember to “Tip, Toss and Cover” to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Tip containers such as garbage cans, pool covers and flower pots that might collect water where mosquitoes could breed,
  • Toss items outside that you don’t use, that might collect water; and
  • Cover exposed skin with an EPA-registered insect repellent and wear long, light-colored clothing, shoes and socks.

West Nile Virus is one of several mosquito-borne diseases that occurs in our area. Fortunately, only a few types of mosquitoes are able to spread illnesses, and only a small number of mosquitos actually carry these viruses. Most people bitten by a mosquito do not get sick. People who do get sick usually suffer a mild, flu-like illness. Children and older adults are at greatest risk of serious illnesses that affect the nervous system. Those illnesses include encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Very few people who contract the virus from a mosquito suffer these more severe symptoms. There was one confirmed human case of West Nile Virus in Prince William Health District in 2017.

Prince William County’s Mosquito and Forest Pest Management traps and tests mosquitoes throughout the summer and early fall to determine the risk to residents of mosquito borne diseases. When they find mosquitoes that test positive, they treat those areas to kill adult and larval mosquitoes.

For more information on mosquito borne diseases, visit the Virginia Department of Health website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-epidemiology/mosquito-borne-disease-prevention-and-control.

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