Officials emphasize prevention after West Nile virus found in The Woodlands, mosquito testing to continue

Officials with Montgomery County and The Woodlands Township are completing mosquito testing and surveying for diseases after trappings in the area yielded positive results for the West Nile virus.

John Geiger, manager of The Woodlands Environmental Services Department, said mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were found this summer in the Village of Grogan’s Mill area.

Officials emphasize prevention after West Nile virus found in The Woodlands, mosquito testing to continue“There have been a few positive results around The Woodlands area, but that’s not abnormal,” Geiger said. “There’s a great deal of variety year to year. There’s no ability to predict how it will go, but positive results [for viruses] are something we take seriously.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of the West Nile virus include high fever, headache, body aches, nausea and swollen lymph glands. People older than 50 are also at a higher risk of severe illness.

Geiger said mosquito abatement in The Woodlands includes performing site surveys to look for mosquito breeding sites and standing water. Educating residents on mosquito safety is also a top priority of The Woodlands Township, he said.

“Residents should continue to do what they’ve been doing,” he said. “Wear repellent and light, loose clothing, and go through your yard to look for standing water. We want to be a resource for folks.”

Geiger said Montgomery County Precinct 3 also has a mosquito abatement program working to find and eliminate mosquitoes with viruses.

Justin Fausek, director of the Montgomery County Precinct 3 mosquito abatement program, said while officials have found an average number of positive West Nile virus results, they are also setting traps that target mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.

“There have been no local cases of Zika, but we are setting traps that target those mosquitoes,” Fausek said. “We now also have full-scale testing in-house, so it’s a pretty quick turnaround for results.”

Fausek said regardless of the kinds of mosquitoes there are in the county, residents should still be aware of certain peak hours of the day where mosquito activity is most prominent.

“Residents should avoid peak times of mosquito action,” Fausek said. “Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus come out right before and after sundown.”