TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — Trapped mosquitoes collected in Taylor have tested positive for West Nile Virus, leading the city to start spraying insecticide.
The sample was taken on Monday from Robinson Park at 206 S. Dolan St. and test results were reported to city officials on Thursday.
The species collected was identified as a southern house mosquito, which has a flight range of one mile. A mosquito trap location in the north of Taylor had negative results.
Officials say this is the first time Taylor has had positive test results since the traps were put in place and tested weekly on May 1. There are no reported cases of West Nile Virus in humans in the Taylor area.
Truck-mounted fogging and spraying, enhanced testing and increased public outreach and education are the main ways the city is responding, which includes treating standing water in Robinson Park with larvacide and spraying pesticide around the park.
Truck-mounted spraying will be carried out three consecutive nights beginning Monday, Nov. 13 from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the impacted area — as long as the weather permits.
City officials say while the mosquito control product does not pose a significant health risk, people and pets may want to stay indoors during the three nights.
The Williamson County and Cities Health District reminds people living nearby to follow the 4 Ds of mosquito safety:
• Dusk is the most dangerous time to be outdoors, which is prime feeding time for mosquitoes
• 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, especially at dusk and dawn
• Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
Other protective measures include repairing any torn screens on windows or doors. The city is asking the public to report any dead birds to local authorities, as they can be a sign that WNV is circulating between birds and mosquitoes in a particular area, though all infected birds will not die, nor is WNV the only way a bird can die. Remember to not touch a dead bird with bare hands.
The Health District says West Nile Virus should not be confused with other mosquito-borne viruses. WNV is carried by infected birds that migrate across Central Texas in October and November.
Officials say the virus is transferred to mosquitoes when they bite infected birds. Humans and horses are especially susceptible to WNV, whereas dogs, cats and other animals are not. WNV cannot be spread from one person to another by casual contact, such as touching or kissing.