Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus detected in D.C. area

June, July and August are peak times for mosquitoes because it is the warmest time of the year for most of the country. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The 2014 West Nile virus season is underway in the D.C. region, and mosquitoes carrying the virus have been detected in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Prince William County’s Mosquito Control Program has “performed intensive treatment in the vicinity of the positive mosquito pools to kill adult and larval mosquitoes,” according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Health.

Area health officials want homeowners also to take steps to eradicate mosquitoes.

Recommendations include from mosquito control website, Mosquito World, include:

  • Remove standing water from items such as plant dishes, clogged rain gutters, and anything that can hold water more than a few days.
  • Fill in low-lying areas in the yard that might collect water.
  • Rake leaves. An overturned leaf can hold enough water to hatch mosquito eggs.
  • Chlorinate or clean birdbaths and wading pools every three to five days.
  • Change pet water containers daily.

To avoid mosquitoes, recommendations from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include:

  • Use repellent.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and socks while outside.
  • Limit time outdoors between dusk and dawn when the type of mosquitos that carry West Nile Virus bite.

Most people sick with West Nile virus don’t experience symptoms. It can, however, make people feel as though they have the flu.

People 50 and older are at the greatest risk of getting seriously sick with West Nile Virus-related encephalitis that causes inflammation of the brain, or meningitis that causes inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.

West Nile virus killed one person in Maryland in 2013, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In Virginia, the virus killed four people in 2012, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Seven U.S. states now are reporting cases of people ill with West Nile virus. They include Arizona, California, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

West Nile graphic (Courtesy Virginia Department of Health)

Tips to prevent West Nile virus near homes. (Courtesy Virginia Department of Health)

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