North Carolina

West Nile virus found in NC mosquito, officials say. Here’s how to protect yourself

A mosquito in North Carolina tested positive for West Nile virus, and health officials say it’s important to protect yourself from bites.

Multiple mosquitoes in a trap on Greenville Loop Road in Wilmington were tested, and one sample came back positive for the virus, New Hanover County said on Monday.

The health department is increasing “surveillance and control activities” and will spray the area on Tuesday, the county said.

The public shouldn’t be alarmed but should do things to prevent bites, the county said.

“While human incidence of West Nile virus is rare, it is a dangerous disease with no cure or vaccine for people, so residents should protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites,” Public Health Director Phillip Tarte said, according to WWAY. “Use EPA approved insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants and limit outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are known to be most active.”

West Nile virus is the “leading cause of mosquito-borne disease” in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but only one in five infected will actually have a fever and other symptoms, and only one in 150 people infected will become seriously ill.

The virus is spread through mosquito bites, and symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or a rash, the CDC says.

Although there is no treatment available, over-the-counter pain medications can be used to relieve symptoms, the CDC says.

As of August 6, 36 states have reported cases of West Nile virus in people, birds or mosquitoes this year, according to the CDC.

In addition to wearing long sleeves and long pants and using bug repellent, the CDC also recommends controlling mosquitoes inside and outside your home by putting screens on windows and doors and preventing mosquitoes from laying eggs in or near water.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.