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West Nile virus threat increases in Harris County

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – There’s a growing number of mosquito samples that have come into the Harris County Public Health Mosquito and Vector Division that have tested positive for the West Nile virus.

The number has increased from 18 samples as of Tuesday to 32 on Friday.

READ: How to prevent mosquito-borne diseases

“So we found West Nile so far in several mosquito populations around the county,” said Chris Fredregill, a field operations manager at the Harris County Public Health Mosquito and Vector Division. “It's normal for this time of year. It just kind of starts to pick up around this time and slowly builds up as soon as we get mosquito positives we send out vehicles to treat the area.”

While it may seem like mosquitoes are out in full force over the last couple of weeks, Fredregill says because of the cold winter here in the greater Houston area, their numbers were actually down. Now, the mosquito population is just getting back to normal.

The increase in mosquito samples testing positive for West Nile is also common this time of year and the county has a map on their website to show where those mosquito samples were found.

Fredregill says, even if your area appears to be West Nile free it’s important to stay proactive.

The southern house mosquito contracts the virus from birds and those West Nile positive mosquitoes can show up anywhere.

File: How to prevent mosquito-borne diseases

“Just because your area may not be positive for West Nile Virus or a mosquito-borne disease, to maintain your vigilance and keep you property clean, keep the standing water down,” said Fredregill.

As we head into celebrating the July Fourth holiday, make sure to remember your EPA-approved bug spray along with your sunscreen.

Experts say to have your mosquito repellent be the most effective, put your sunscreen on first, then wait about 10 minutes. After that, you can apply your bug spray.