Recent rain in the area has increased the number of nuisance mosquitoes and raised concern for transmission of West Nile Virus. Though there has been positive-testing mosquito samples, there have been no positive human cases of West Nile Virus reported in Fort Bend County so far this year.
West Nile Virus is a potentially serious illness that spreads when infected mosquitoes bite humans and other animals. Symptoms include high fever, headaches, neck stiffness, nausea, and vomiting. Severe symptoms include unusually intense headaches or confusion. If these symptoms develop seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms will appear 3-14 days after a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito. It is important to note that only 1 in 150 people will develop severe symptoms, and about 80% of people infected will show no symptoms at all.
Fort Bend County Road and Bridge conducts routine surveillance for the type and numbers of mosquitoes present and submits samples for testing for West Nile Virus. Road and Bridge also sprays for nuisance mosquitoes and increases spraying and larviciding in areas where mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus. To protect yourself and family against mosquitoes, remember the 4D’s: wear darkclothing to cover legs and arms, use repellent that contains DEET, avoid going outside at dusk and dawn, and drain standing water.
Spraying can only impact the mosquitoes where the spray can reach. Some backyards with high privacy fences will not be reached from a spray truck. Homeowners need to be aware of conditions in their yards that may promote breeding of mosquitoes such as flower pots with excess water, irrigation systems that over water, trash piles with water, etc. Commercial sprays are available for yards.
In the early years of West Nile Virus, testing of dead birds was undertaken as an early detection method for West Nile Virus in an area. This is no longer effective as we the virus is here. The more important information is whether the mosquitoes are infected or not, as only infected mosquitoes can pass the infection to humans. Birds are no longer tested in the county.
If you find a dead bird, don’t handle the body with your bare hands. Dispose of the body by turning a sealed zip top bag inside-out on your hand so it looks like a glove. Once the bird has been picked up, turn the bag right-side out and seal.