NEW HANOVER CTY - Recent testing of the local mosquito pools confirmed one positive sample of West Nile Virus (WNV) in New Hanover County. The public should not be alarmed, but should be vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites.
New Hanover County Health Department’s Vector Control monitors sites throughout the county, including coastal areas, for mosquito production and helps to control the mosquito population in the county through active surveillance, community education, and mosquito spraying.
“Human incidence of West Nile Virus is rare, but remains a dangerous disease. There is no cure and no vaccine available for people, so citizens should protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites,” says New Hanover County Health Director Phillip Tarte. “Minimize unprotected outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk, the times during the day when mosquito activity peaks. Additional protective measures include applying insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. New Hanover County Health Department will continue proactive surveillance and control activities to identify mosquito-borne illnesses in an effort to protect our citizens and visitors of the county.”
The young, elderly, and immunocompromised populations are at greatest risk, and WNV can result in death. There are usually no symptoms in most people who become infected with WNV. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of WNV disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.
Below are tips to help eliminate mosquito breeding and reduce the risk of mosquito-borne disease:
• Remove any containers that can hold water, even a small amount, including saucers under flower pots. Check tarps, buckets, toys, trash cans, under decks, wheel barrels, kayaks/canoes, boats, pools, pipes, etc. for standing water and eliminate the potential for these items to hold water.
• Store out-of-service or un-mounted tires under cover to prevent the collection of any water.
• Change the water in bird baths and pet bowls at least twice a week.
• Keep gutters clean and in good repair, and repair leaky outdoor faucets.
When possible, drain any standing water on your property such as puddles and ditches that hold water for more than a four days after rain.
• Make sure rain barrels have tight-fitting screens or lids.
• Use screened windows and doors, and make sure screens fit tightly and are not torn.
Find more mosquito prevention tips and information on the Health Department’s website at http://health.nhcgov.com/ and learn more about West Nile virus on the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html
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