West Nile virus found in Travis County mosquito pool

A mosquito pool in Travis County has tested positive for West Nile virus, says Austin Public Health.

The positive tests came from a pool in the 78744 zip code in South Austin

No human cases of the virus have been identified at this time, but APH says the positive test shows the virus is in our community.

Last year, one person died from West Nile and there were three probable cases reported in Austin-Travis County. Across the state of Texas, 913 positive pools and 90 confirmed West Nile virus cases in people were reported.

West Nile is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States. It is typically spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. According to the CDC, the virus is not spread through coughing, sneezing or touching other people or live animals.      

Approximately 20 percent of those infected develop symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Of those infected, few develop further serious illnesses, usually affecting the central nervous system. 

People over 60 and those with medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension or kidney disease are at greater risk of more serious illness. Organ transplant recipients are also at risk.

APH says to "fight the bite" with the "four Ds":      

  • Drain standing water: Mosquitoes breed in standing water and need as little as one teaspoon. Emptying water that accumulates in toys, tires, trash cans, buckets, clogged rain gutters and plant pots will deny mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs and reproduce.    
  • Dusk to dawn: Although different species of mosquitoes are active at different times of day, the Culex mosquito that spreads West Nile virus is most active between dusk and dawn.    
  • Dress: Wear pants and long sleeves when you are outside. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing; mosquito-repellent clothing is also available.    
  • DEET: Use an EPA-registered insect repellent, such as those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone. Apply on exposed skin and clothing.    

Mosquitoes are present in Central Texas year-round, but the population is largest and most active from May through November. During this period, the APH Environmental Vector Control Unit monitors the mosquito population.    

For more information on West Nile virus, click here

For additional information about APH Environmental Vector Control and mosquito monitoring programs, click here