WOODBRIDGE, Va. (WUSA 9) -- Mosquitoes collected this month in Prince William County have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. This is the first reported activity of the virus in the county for the 2014 season, said Virginia Department of Health spokesperson Lorrie Andrew-Spear in a press release sent out Monday afternoon.
The mosquitoes were tested by the Prince William Mosquito Control Program and collected from test areas in Woodbridge, Virginia. Health officials said the testing is used to determine "periods of greater risk of contracting West Nile Virus," and that the results of July's tests indicate there is an increased risk of contracting the virus across the county.
The health department said the Mosquito Control Program has treated mosquito pools that tested positive for the virus to kill adult and larval mosquitoes and will continue to take such action throughout the summer.
Health officials recommend residents eliminate breeding areas by making sure there is not standing water within a few 100 feet of their residences. The virus can spread to birds, humans, horses and other mammals through mosquito bites and people who do contract the virus suffer mild, flu-like symptoms. While many do not get sick, people over the age of 50 are at greater risk for more sever symptoms.
The Prince William Health District has the following recommendations for reducing exposure:
-Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing.
-Use insect repellent products with no more than 50 percent DEET for adults and less than 10 percent for children. Follow label instructions when using insect repellents.
-Turn over or remove containers in your yard where any water may collect, such as old tires, potted plant trays, buckets and toys.
-Eliminate any standing water in yards or on tarps or flat roofs.
-Chlorinate or clean out birdbaths and wading pools every three to five days.
-Clean roof gutters and downspout screens regularly. Mosquitoes breed and feed in standing water in roof gutters.
To get more information on the West Nile Virus, visit the Virginia Department of Health website at www.vdh.virginia.gov. Questions about mosquito control spraying or to opt out of spraying can be directed to Prince William Gypsy Moth & Mosquito Control at (703) 792-6279. Information is also available from the Prince William Health District on Twitter @PrinceWilliamHD and Facebook.