It’s nearly that time again. I haven’t gotten any mosquito bites yet, but I’m starting to be a little bit nervous when I go outside at dusk. I know the onslaught will be any day now. And with reported cases of West Nile Virus last year, I have every right to be nervous.
Over the past few years cases of West Nile Virus have occurred in the DC Metro area as well as Virginia and Maryland. Back in 2011 eight cases of West Nile Virus were found in humans in Virginia – one of which was in Fairfax County.
According to the American Mosquito Control Association, in 2010 there were 30,491 cases of West Nile Virus reported to the CDC. 12650 resulted in meningitis/encephalitis and 1196 were fatal. The CDC estimates that there have been at least 1.5 million West Nile Virus infections and 341,000 cases of West Nile Fever, but the disease is grossly under reported due to its similarity to other viral infections like the annual flu.
West Nile Virus comes from birds and mosquitoes and is transmitted to mammals and humans by infected by mosquitoes. Symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, headache and fatigue with aches or a rash. It is similar to the flu and can last from a few days to a few weeks. It first showed up in the United States in 1999 and has since traveled across the country.
As we are entering the heart of mosquito season, here are some mosquito prevention tips:
- Turn over or remove containers from your yard where rainwater collects, such as potted plant trays, buckets, or toys.
- Clean roof gutters and downspout screens.
- Empty birdbaths once a week.
And of course, we at Backyard Bug Patrol will happy to come out at barrier your yard. All you have to do is ask.