West Nile Virus Makes Early Appearance This Year

There have been two reported human cases of West Nile Virus so far this year and a total of five mosquito pools that have tested positive for the virus as of July 8th. 

Two of those samples were found in Williams County.

“This would be a very good time to practice some protective measures,” says Francis Bosch, director of Williams County Vector Control. 

Williams County Vector Control spends each weekday morning collecting, identifying, and testing the mosquitoes for West Nile. 

“The threat for West Nile out here will probably never go away,” says field supervisor James Taverna. 

Last week, traps caught mosquitos that tested positive for West Nile in both Williams and McKenzie Counties.

“When we get those positives, that’s a time for us to say ok, we know there’s a problem in this area. We kind of focus some of our efforts around where that trap is,” says Taverna. 

And culex tarsalis, a mosquito that carries the West Nile virus, made an early appearance this year.

“We start seeing Culex mosquitos beginning of July. Here, we were already seeing them middle of June.The earlier you get the virus moving around in the community, the more time it has to amplify,” says Bosch.

But there are things you can do to lessen your risk of contracting the potentially deadly virus.

“Eliminate standing water on their property. Remove tires. If you have buckets out in your property, make sure their empty of water or even store them upside down so they won’t collect water,” says Taverna. 

Vector Control also urges taking precautions when spending time outdoors.

“Cover up and wear repellent, and if you don’t have to be out when mosquitos are most active, then I wouldn’t,” says Bosch. 

Precautions that should be taken well into the season. The Department of Health reported that last year there were 62 cases of West Nile virus. About a third resulted in hospitalization, including two deaths. 

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