The Arlington County Public Health Division has received its first reported case of West Nile Virus in an Arlington resident for 2018. This case serves as a reminder that West Nile Virus is present in our community and the region.
“West Nile Virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito,” said Dr. Reuben Varghese, Health Director and Division Chief for the Arlington County Public Health Division. “With the virus detected in mosquitoes in the region and with the recent rains contributing to more mosquito breeding, it is important for area residents to actively prevent mosquito breeding and biting or ‘Fight the Bite.’”
The best way to “fight the bite” is using the 3-Ds:
- Drain or dump standing water. The most common mosquito breeding grounds on your property are water in flower pots, gutters, pet bowls, inflatable pools and birdbaths. If you cannot get rid of the standing water, put larvicide (such as Mosquito Dunks) in the water to kill developing mosquitoes. Be sure to read the instructions on the label.
- Dress in long sleeves and pants. This will help protect your skin from mosquito bites. And don’t forget to wear socks!
- Defend yourself. Choose a mosquito repellent that has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency. Registered products have been reviewed, approved and pose minimal risk for human safety when used according to label directions. Four repellent that are approved and recommended are:
- DEET (N, N-diethy-m-toluamide)
- Picaridin (KBR 3023)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-methane 3, 8-diol, or PMD)
Additionally, avoid being outside where mosquitoes are especially common — at dawn and dusk — which are peak biting times.
According to Dr. Varghese, “Well-informed and active residents are necessary partners to combat disease carrying insects in our community. Please join us in fighting the bite to better yourself, your family and our community from mosquitoes and the diseases they may transmit.” For more information, please visit our Mosquito Information Center.
Background on West Nile Virus
West Nile virus is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. In North America, cases of West Nile virus (WNV) occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through the fall. WNV cases have been reported in all of the continental United States. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not have symptoms. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About one out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. (Source: CDC)