WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TX — A second positive sampling for the West Nile virus among mosquitoes at an area park has prompted the county to adjust the hours of the recreational area to mitigate potential illness spread, officials said Monday.
The testing emerged from a trap near the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park, county officials said. This marks the second time this trap has had mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in the past three weeks, officials noted.
The Williamson County and Cities Health District set up two expanded trap sites near the park, officials said, and both of the expanded traps came up with negative test results at this time. No other samples were found to be positive from routine trapping this week as part of the health disrict’s Integrated Vector Management program, officials added.
As a result of the positive results, Williamson County will adjust hours for park visitors at the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park to prevent exposure to mosquitoes when they are most active. Starting on Tuesday, the park will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“Health officials strongly encourage everyone to remain vigilant about protecting themselves from mosquito bites and preventing mosquito breeding on their personal property,” officials said in an advisory. “Please eliminate all standing water around your house or on your property. Mosquitoes cannot breed without standing water. Residents should treat ponds, rain barrels, or other stagnant water that can’t be drained with a larvicide. Please apply the treatment based on its labeled use. These products can be found at local home improvement stores.”
County officials said parks staff members will continue mosquito control efforts with draining or treating standing water with larvicide. Officilas stressed there have been no reported human cases of the virus in Williamson County since 2017. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported the first human case of West Nile Virus this year on July 23 in an adult resident of Tarrant County who later died, officials added.
“West Nile Virus should not be confused with other mosquito-borne viruses,” officials said. “There has been no evidence of mosquitoes transmitting COVID-19.”
What you can do
Mosquitoes can breed in very small amounts of standing or stagnant water. Eliminating places where mosquitoes can breed and reducing the chances of mosquito bites are the most effective lines of defense against exposure to West Nile Virus. The mosquito species that transmits West Nile Virus is most active at dawn and dusk, residents are advised to be most cautious at those times by following the 3Ds 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.