First mosquito sample tests positive for West Nile virus

The mosquito sample from a trapping site in northeast Harris County came back positive

HOUSTON - Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services Mosquito Control has confirmed a mosquito sample has tested positive for West Nile virus.

The mosquito sample from a trapping site in northeast Harris County came back positive. This is the first confirmed West Nile virus mosquito sample in Harris County so far this year. Last year, the virus was first identified in mosquitoes in late May.

"This is the first one we found, which is typical," said Dr. Rudy Bueno, Harris County Mosquito Control Director. "Normally, it's around mid-May to early June. It just indicates it's the start of the season."

Workers are collecting and testing around 500 mosquito samples every week.

Doctor Bueno said our hot, summer weather has a lot to do with it. As temperatures rise, so does the threat of West Nile virus.

"When it gets hot, the virus inside the mosquito or the bird starts to amplify, so it's a lot easier for the mosquito to pick up the virus from the bird," said Dr. Bueno.

Here's some advice to protect yourself from West Nile virus:

-Avoid the outdoors around dawn and dusk.
-Wear light-colored cloths & long-sleeves and pants.
-Use mosquito repellent with DEET.
-Throw out any standing water around your home.

Those most at risk for contracting West Nile virus are people over 50 years old or those suffering from an illness.

Evening spray operations have been activated in the affected area in northeast Harris county, starting Friday evening at dusk through the night to combat the threat of the mosquito-borne disease.

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