Officials from the city of Denton are on alert after a sample of mosquitoes collected on Aug. 18 from traps located near Unicorn Lake tested positive for the presence of West Nile virus.
“These are the first samples that have tested positive for West Nile virus in the City of Denton this year,” said Kenneth Banks, Director of Environmental Services for the City of Denton.
“Compared to the last couple of years, the incidence rate of West Nile virus in mosquitoes has been low this year. For example, by this time last year there were four traps events that had captured mosquitoes with the virus.”
Although West Nile virus infections are rare in humans, personal protection is very important, especially for the elderly and children, Banks said.
In a small number of cases, the virus can cause fatal inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or of the membranes covering the brain or spinal cord (meningitis) that can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.
About one in 150 people infected with the disease develop severe symptoms, and those 50 and older face the greatest risk.
Here are some tips to keep your risk of West Nile virus lower:
• Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening.
• Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
• Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET. Follow manufacturer’s instructions on the label.
• Repair or replace all screens in your home that have tears or holes.
• Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property. For example, tires, cans, flowerpot saucers or anything else that holds water.
• Make sure gutters drain properly and clean gutters regularly.
• Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week.
• Use BTI briquettes in standing water.