Editor’s Note: The eighth most-read story of the year came over the summer when New Hanover County discovered West Nile Virus in mosquitoes it had collected and tested. Fortunately, mosquito activity is limited in the winter so worrying about these pesky animals and the diseases they might carry is almost exclusively a summertime concern.
NEW HANOVER COUNTY — West Nile Virus has been found in a local mosquito in New Hanover County, according to county officials.
“Recent testing of local mosquitoes confirmed one positive sample of West Nile Virus in New Hanover County. One mosquito pool in a trap near Greenville Loop Road tested positive for the virus. The public should not be alarmed but should be vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites,” according to the statement.
The county’s health vector control monitors mosquito activity and helps control the populations through pesticides, larvicides, and monitoring of
“While human incidence of West Nile Virus is rare, it is a dangerous disease with no cure or vaccine for people, so residents should protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites,” said Public Health Director Phillip Tarte. “Use EPA approved insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants and limit outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are known to be most active.”
The county will continue to monitor the situation and begin spraying along Greenville Loop Road Tuesday.
To report mosquito activity or concerns, and sign up for spraying alerts, visit PublicHealth.NHCgov.com and click “mosquito control.”
About West Nile Virus
“The young, old and immunocompromised are at the highest risk of contracting West Nile Virus. There are usually no symptoms in most people who become infected with West Nile Virus and most people recover completely. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash, according to the county’s statement.
“Less than one percent of people who are infected will develop a serious neurological illness like encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). The symptoms of neurological illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis.
Preventing Mosquito-borne Illness
- Use EPA registered mosquito repellent that contains DEET (or equivalent) when outside. Use caution when applying to children.
- Reduce time spent outdoors, especially dawn, dusk and early evening, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear light-colored long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors, and use air conditioning if possible.
- “Tip and Toss” to reduce mosquito breeding by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool cove”