NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – Following recent testing of mosquitoes trapped by New Hanover County Public Health’s vector control team, a confirmation of West Nile Virus (WNV) has been found in some of the samples collected. At this time, officials with New Hanover County Health and Human Services advise that the public should not be alarmed but remain vigilant to prevent mosquito bites when possible.
“While we know that West Nile Virus has been detected locally, it’s not a reason to panic as routine, preventative measures can significantly reduce the risk to you and your loved ones,” said Public Health Director Jon Campbell. “The most important thing we can do is eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by dumping standing water around your homes as often as possible. It only takes a very small amount of water to create a habitat where mosquitos can breed. Additionally, the use of EPA-approved insect repellent is important, along with wearing long sleeves and pants when outside. Also, consider limiting outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active.”
New Hanover County Public Health’s Vector Control division routinely monitors mosquito activity in the community and works to control the mosquito population through surveillance and public education. The division also treats sites that could serve as breeding grounds with larvicide to kill mosquito larvae before they hatch and uses targeted ultra-low volume spraying with an EPA-registered pesticide to kill adult mosquitos when populations are found to be higher. As part of a comprehensive surveillance system, the vector control team monitors mosquito volumes, species, and testing for diseases through NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).
Residents can report mosquito activity or concerns, and sign up for spraying alerts, by clicking here.
Preventing mosquito-borne illness
- Use EPA registered mosquito repellent that contains DEET (or equivalent) when outside. Use caution when applying to children.
- If using mosquito treatment on your property, use as directed on the product label.
- Reduce time spent outdoors, especially at dawn, dusk and early evening, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear light-colored long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors, and use air conditioning if possible.
- “Tip and Toss” to reduce mosquito breeding by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths at least twice a week.
About West Nile Virus (WNV)
WNV is spread to humans by a mosquito that contracted the virus from a bird it fed on. The virus is consistently present in some bird populations.
Most people experience no symptoms, and approximately 80 percent of people infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all. In some, up to 20 percent of those infected, symptoms can include fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. These symptoms may last for a few days but may linger for several weeks.
Rarely in a small number of individuals, about one in 150 people infected with WNV, severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
Find more mosquito prevention tips and information on the New Hanover County Public Health website and learn more on the CDC website.