A mosquito sample collected by York County Mosquito Control tested positive for West Nile Virus, a county spokeswoman said Friday.
The county routinely samples mosquitoes in the area and tests for mosquito-borne illnesses, according to Operations Superintendent Betsy Hodson.
A collection from the lower portion of York County tested positive for the virus, however, there haven’t been any reported cases of West Nile Virus in humans or animals.
“The pool that we did in-house kind of let us know it was hot because we had trapped them on Thursday night and tested them on Friday and got back a positive,” Hodson said. “We went into the area, we found ground zero where the mosquitoes were coming from, we treated that area immediately and then we sprayed that area that night.”
The type of mosquitoes most likely to carry the virus are often found near man-made, water-holding containers or polluted ditches, according to the Virginia Department of Health. West Nile Virus cannot be transmitted from person-to-person or from animal-to-person contact.
“West Nile comes from birds, and birds migrate, and that’s how West Nile comes in and out of the area, and I think another important thing is because its been so dry, birds and mosquitoes are together in the same watering holes,” Hodson said.
The mosquitoes were found in a residential neighborhood around a pump station. However, there wasn’t really any water, Hodson said, and the type of mosquito that carries the virus only flies a mile to a mile and a half.
“When we do our testing, we have a minimum of 25 mosquitoes per test. Only one of the mosquitoes could have had West Nile,” Hodson said. “The odds of getting that mosquito biting you (are low). It just lets us know what’s in that area.”
Although 80% of people infected with the virus won’t experience any symptoms, it can cause fever, headaches and vomiting. Young people and those older than 60 are at an increased risk for developing an infection.
There is no human vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for West Nile Virus. Virginia has an average of nine cases a year, according to VDH, however, last year there were no reported cases in the Peninsula district.
Most cases of the virus are reported in late summer and early fall, around August and September.
York County Mosquito Control sprays for mosquitoes from late spring to early fall and will continue to spray and test for the disease, according to York County spokeswoman Gail Whittaker.
However, Mosquito Control recommends residents use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants to cover exposed skin when outdoors.
The county also urges residents to tip out any standing water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys, wading pools, buckets and anything else around the yard that can hold water after a rainfall.
“It (West Nile) can kill you if you’re really old and really, really young… It is not a good thing. If the citizens call us we’ll be right out to take care of it,” Hodson said.
“We’re not nervous or worried about it. We feel like we’ve got it under control.”
Want to know more?
For more information about West Nile Virus, visit the Virginia Department of Health website at vdh.virginia.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov. For more information on mosquito control in York County, visit yorkcounty.gov.
SaraRose Martin, email@example.com, 757-243-3685, @SaraRoseMartin.