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Help fight the bite

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 by Tai Moses

In an effort to prevent West Nile virus from spreading throughout the region, Austin Public Health is asking the community to raise its mosquito awareness this summer. “While Covid-19 is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we need to remember the many other diseases that are commonly present in our community, including West Nile virus,” Janet Pichette, APH chief epidemiologist, said in a press release. The most common mosquito-borne disease in the country, West Nile is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease can be averted by reducing the number of mosquitoes in an area, which means reducing all sources of standing water, which is where mosquitoes lay their eggs. There were no positive cases of West Nile virus detected in Travis County last year; this year, APH’s Environmental and Vector Control Program “has identified 14 positive pools of West Nile Virus in Travis County and our Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit has reported two probable neuroinvasive human cases.” Don Hastings, APH Environmental Health Services assistant director, said, “You have the power to prevent and protect your loved ones from West Nile virus by draining standing water, limiting time spent outdoors and wearing appropriate clothing and DEET when outdoors.”

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