HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)—Mosquitoes in Henrico County have tested positive for carrying the West Nile virus.
While no Henrico cases of a human carrying the virus have been reported, the Brandermill Community Association reported on its website that a Brandermill resident tested positive for West Nile Virus.
Recently, Virginia recorded its first two human West Nile Virus cases of 2012. The state Health Department reported an adult in Southwest Virginia and an adult in the northwest part of the state were infected and have since recovered. And in neighboring state Pennsylvania, a man just recently died from the virus.
Now, the virus appears to be inching closer to Central Virginia. Henrico county’s senior environmental inspector, Lane Carr, told CBS 6, that mosquitoes tested positive for the virus in nearly a dozen samples across the county.
If those insects were found in your neighborhood, Henrico officials leave a yellow warning slip on your door.
Carr said that fortunately the Asian tiger mosquito is the type flying around in large numbers throughout the region. Those mosquitoes aren’t good carriers of the virus, according to Carr. However, the county is still urging residents to proceed with caution.
According to WTKR, the city of Newport News will start a citywide mosquito fogging operation in response to an increase in mosquito populations brought on by recent heavy rain.
Overall, the U.S. is now experiencing its biggest spike in the mosquito-borne illness since 2004.
More than 40 people have died across the country. Dallas County, Texas is one of the hardest hit areas- reporting at least 10 deaths. More than 200 people in the have been infected metro Dallas area.
Leaders in Texas have declared a state of emergency and have ordered an aerial assault on mosquitoes.
Two planes sprayed pesticide in Dallas County, an aerial assault hasn’t happened in Texas since 1966.
Here are five things you need to know about West Nile virus:
1. Most mosquitoes do not carry West Nile.
In areas where mosquitoes carry the virus, only about one in 500 mosquitoes is infected, according to the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program.
2. Most people bit by West Nile mosquitoes do not get sick.
About 80% of people bit by a mosquito infected with the West Nile virus do not get sick, according to the CDC. About 20% will have relatively mild symptoms, such as fever, headache and vomiting. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days or as long as a few weeks. About one in 150 people infected with West Nile will develop a severe illness, which can include paralysis, coma or death.
3. You can help prevent West Nile with the “four Ds.”
• Use mosquito repellent with DEET
• Dress in long pants and long sleeves
• Be especially careful at dusk and dawn
• Drain any standing water, such as kiddie pools or bird fountains, where mosquitoes like to breed.
4. People over 50 are most vulnerable.
Those older than 50 are the most likely to become severely ill with West Nile and should take special care to avoid mosquitoes, according to the CDC.
5. Seek medical care immediately if you have severe headaches or confusion.
If you develop symptoms of severe West Nile virus illness, such as unusually severe headaches or confusion, seek medical attention immediately, according to the CDC. Severe illness usually requires hospitalization. Milder cases improve on their own and do not necessarily require medical attention.