Citys first West Nile virus reported


Mosquito collections in the 4200 block of Eisenhower Avenue, the Cameron Knoll community and Angel Park in the City of Alexandria have produced samples that have tested positive for the West Nile Virus, marking the first reported activity of the virus in the city for the 2010 season. 

The mosquitoes were collected by the Environmental Health Division on July 6 and were confirmed positive for West Nile Virus this week. No human cases of the West Nile virus have been reported in the city this year. One human case was reported last year.

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that is endemic in this region, said Environmental Health Manager, Bob Custard. We urge city residents to be proactive in their efforts to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats.

Health Department officials cite standing water as the most obvious breeding ground for the 15 to 20 different species of mosquitoes found in Alexandria. There are about 44 to 60 different species in the state, according to the health department.

The Alexandria Health Department recommends emptying birdbaths and other containers of standing water at least once a week, and eliminating puddles and other watery areas around their homes where mosquitoes breed. 

The black and white tiger mosquitoes commonly associated with West Nile are easily identifiable, but there is no way of knowing which mosquitoes are infected with the virus just by looking at them. The elderly and young children are most susceptible to it, while stronger immune systems can resist the virus without a person realizing they are infected.