Mosquito pool in San Antonio tests positive for West Nile virus, Metro Health says

Infected mosquito pool collected from a trap on NE Side

SAN ANTONIO – A mosquito pool recently tested positive for the West Nile virus, Metro Health officials said.

The infected mosquito pool was collected from a trap on the city’s Northeast Side, around the O’Connor and Nacogdoches Road area, on Aug. 4. The pool was submitted for testing on Aug. 8 and lab results were confirmed on Aug. 23, Metro Health said in a news release.

Metro Health’s Vector Control team has assessed and treated the areas nearby. Increased rainfall may result in increased hatching of mosquito eggs. Metro Health officials are asking for residents for help in preventing mosquitoes in the following ways:

Remove Standing Water

Keep mosquitoes from laying eggs inside and outside of your home. These actions can help reduce the number of mosquitoes around areas where people live. After the rain, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out containers that hold water, such as:

  • Vases
  • Pet water bowls
  • Flowerpot saucers
  • Discarded tires
  • Buckets
  • Pool covers
  • Birdbaths
  • Trash cans
  • Rain barrels

Improve Sanitation

When water is contaminated with organic matter (for example, animal waste, grasses, and leaves), the chances that mosquito larvae will survive may increase because contaminated matter provides food for larvae to eat.

Protect Yourself

  • Use an insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on skin not covered by clothing.
  • Spray insect repellent on the outside of your clothing (mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing).
  • Insect repellents should not be used on young infants.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks to protect exposed skin during dusk and dawn, which is when mosquitoes are active.
  • Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Nile virus is most spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes then spread West Nile virus to people and other animals by biting them.

Cases of West Nile Virus occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat the virus in people. Most people infected with the virus do not feel sick. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. About one in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).

Severe illness can occur in people of any age; however, people over 60 years of age are at greater risk for severe illness if they are infected (1 in 50 people). People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk.

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David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.