CEDAR PARK, TX — A sampling of mosquitoes collected from a trap located in Cedar Park has tested positive for West Nile Virus, city health officials said Monday.
The testing is part of the City of Cedar Park’s proactive participation in the Williamson County and Cities Health District’s mosquito management program, officials explained. The positive test was indicated in a lab result from the Texas Department of State Health Services lab in Austin.
Despite the positive results, county officials stressed there are currently no reported human cases of West Nile Virus in Cedar Park, and Williamson County has seen no reported human cases since 2016. West Nile Virus should not be confused with other mosquito-borne viruses, officials noted, referring residents to the following links to learn more: www.wcchd.org or www.txwestnile.org.
The Health District has six traps at various locations throughout Cedar Park, officials said. The species that tested positive is Culex quinquefasciatus (southern house mosquito) was collected in southwest Cedar Park, near the intersection of Cypress Creek Road and Sun Chase Boulevard on Aug. 2. This species has a flight range of about one mile, officials added.
The city is following the Health District’s Best Practices for Integrated Vector Management (IVM) which, at this time, call for enhanced monitoring and testing, along with increased public outreach and education, according to a city advisory. Officials said they are poised to take additional action if further safeguards are necessary.
“Especially in light of the positive test sample’s proximity to outdoor activity at Elizabeth Milburn Park and in several nearby neighborhoods, the City and Health District are encouraging everyone to be especially vigilant about protecting themselves from mosquito bites when outdoors – and preventing mosquito breeding on their personal property,” officials said while offering tips.
What you can do
Mosquitoes breed in standing or stagnant water. Eliminating places where mosquitoes can breed and reducing the chances of mosquito bites are the most effective lines of defense against exposure to West Nile Virus. As part of its Fight the Bite campaign the Health District recommends the 3 Ds of mosquito safety.
- Drain standing water in flower pots, pet dishes or clogged gutters so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed and treat water that can’t be drained,
- Defend by using an EPA-approved insect repellent, and
- Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department uses bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) larvicide tablets on public property (such as parks) to treat any standing water that cannot be drained, officials explained. Bt is a naturally-occurring bacteria that is harmless to people and most pets but it interrupts the reproduction cycle of mosquitoes. Officials noted Bt for home use can be found at most “big box” hardware retailers.
In addition, the city’s Code Enforcement Division is focusing its efforts on mosquito abatement throughout the community. Residents aware of a location of stagnant water on public or private property, are urged to report it to the city’s Code Enforcement Division via www.cedarparktexas.gov/ReportaProblem, the CPConnect 2.0 app on mobile devices or via e-mail at [email protected].
For more information on mosquito safety, visit the Williamson County and Cities Health District’s website.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. In North America, cases of West Nile virus (WNV) occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall, according to the CDC website.
West Nile virus cases are not isolated to Texas, officials said, but have been reported in all of the continental United States. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in humans, CDC officials noted. Fortunately, most people infected with West Nile virus do not have symptoms, with about one in five people who are infected developing a fever and other symptoms.
But for others, West Nile virus is far more dangerous, according to the CDC. About one out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. People can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites, CDC officials advise.
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