On July 28, Austin Public Health officials announced a positive West Nile virus pool during a routine check for mosquito-borne illnesses.

The positive pool was located in the East MLK neighborhood in the 78721 ZIP code.

While there are no confirmed cases of West Nile in humans yet, the positive test indicates the virus is in the community. According to APH officials, the West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne illness in the United States. In 2021, there were eight positive West Nile pools in Travis County, 1,515 positive pools in all of Texas and 77 confirmed cases in the state, according to APH.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the West Nile virus is spread by being bit from an infected mosquito, and most people who are infected do not get sick. About 20% of people who are infected will develop a fever, headaches and other symptoms, according to the CDC.

“The monitoring of mosquito pools is key to keeping the public informed and safe, especially when many people are spending time outside,” said Marcel Elizondo, interim assistant director for environmental health services, in a press release. “By removing standing water and using prevention tools, we keep ourselves, our families and communities safe.”

According to APH officials, mosquitoes breed in standing water, and one of the best ways to prevent a positive pool is to drain standing water that accumulates in toys, trash cans, clogged gutters and other containers. APH officials also recommend wearing long sleeves and pants; wearing insect repellent; and staying inside from dusk to dawn.