Williamson Co. investigating possible human case of West Nile Virus

Mosquito insecticide spraying in the Berry Creek area of Georgetown. Oct. 28, 2016 (KXAN Photo)
Mosquito insecticide spraying in the Berry Creek area of Georgetown. Oct. 28, 2016 (KXAN Photo)

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A possible human case of West Nile virus is currently being investigated in Williamson County. A spokesperson for the Williamson County and Cities Health District says they are waiting for test results to come back from the Texas Department of State Health Services lab to determine if the person is infected. Due to privacy reasons, the health department can’t say if the individual is a man or a woman or the person’s age.

On Friday night, the city of Georgetown is doing their final spraying for mosquitoes at 9 p.m. This is after the sixth mosquito sample tested positive for West Nile this year. Ahead of Halloween, health officials want to make sure the area is safe for kids and families outside.

The effort is reassuring neighbors like Chris Graber.

“In my opinion, don’t let the fear scare you away, come out, enjoy yourself,” said Graber. “If you’re really that concerned about it, take precautions, use bug spray, treat yourself before you go out.”

Graber’s family goes all out on Halloween, and had over 200 kids trick-or-treating at the house last year. They hoped to bring in an even bigger crowd this year.

Mosquito insecticide spraying in the Berry Creek area of Georgetown. Oct. 28, 2016 (KXAN Photo)
Mosquito insecticide spraying in the Berry Creek area of Georgetown. Oct. 28, 2016 (KXAN Photo)

“I hope they take into account the city’s made reassurances that this is safe,” said Graber.

His neighbor, Ronald Weinstein, is also happy the city didn’t waste any time getting the neighborhood sprayed.

“I’m glad that the city responded as quickly as they did to it, to try to prevent anybody from, or at least minimizing the possibility of somebody getting bitten by the mosquitoes and getting infected,” said Weinstein.

The company spraying, Vector Disease Control International, says it contains Permethrin. The National Pesticide Information Center says it’s common, but dangerous to insects and cats.

The species that tested positive, Culex quinquefasciatus, also known as the Southern house mosquito, has a flight range of about a mile. The sample was collected last week in the Villages of Berry Creek neighborhood on the north side of the city. The most recent report from DSHS indicates 271 people have been infected with West Nile this year and ten have died.

A mosquito sample in Cedar Park, collected on the far eastern side of Brushy Creek Sports Park, near the intersection of Brushy Creek Road and Parmer Lane, tested positive for West Nile. The WCCHD announced the positive test on Friday.

Earlier this month a 13-year-old boy from Elgin died after contracting West Nile virus, according to his family. Cody Hopkins’ mother says her son tested positive for the virus at the beginning of October and within a few days his condition worsened. Doctors told the family the child had West Nile encephalitis, which severely attacked his brain and caused severe hemorrhaging.

Preventing a bite

Mosquitoes breed in standing or stagnant water. Eliminating places where mosquitoes can breed and reducing the chances of mosquito bites are the most effective lines of defense. As part of its Fight the Bite campaign, the Health District recommends the “3 Ds” of mosquito safety.

  • Drain standing water in flower pots, pet dishes, or clogged gutters so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed and treat water that can’t be drained;
  • Defend by using an EPA-approved insect repellent; and,
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.

For more information, go to the WCCHD website at www.wcchd.org or visit the Texas Department of State Health Services West Nile website at www.txwestnile.org.

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