THE WOODLANDS, Texas (FOX 26) - The number of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus are on the rise in Montgomery County. Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack's Mosquito Abatement Department has indicated that West Nile activity is more widespread in 2018 than in recent seasons.
So far, the mosquito abatement team is reporting that approximately one-third (25 of 78) of its operational zones have at least one positive mosquito sample. There have been 38 positive samples collected in Montgomery County, of which 28 are in The Woodlands.
“We want them to still be able to play outside and enjoy the summer, but keep them safe at the same time," said Susie Janik, a mother of two girls.
“When you get more rain, you’re going to have more areas of moisture where they like to breed," said Devin Wombles, epidemiology specialist for the Montgomery County Hospital District. "They" being mosquitoes. Yes, they’re everywhere right now, but a few areas plagued by these pesky insects are a little more concerning.
“In and around Spring and The Woodlands, that’s where we saw a lot of the pools positive," said Wombles.
There are five precincts in Montgomery County. It’s Pct. 3, which includes The Woodlands, where almost a third of its mosquito sample pools have West Nile.
“When you hear an actual confirmed case or you hear mosquitoes have tested positive, you’re definitely much more concerned," said Janik, who has lived The Woodlands for just a couple of years.
So far, there have been no reported cases of humans contracting West Nile. The concerning fact is that more mosquitoes in The Woodlands seem to be carrying West Nile this year over last.
“We have so much grass out here and then we back up to the woods so the mosquitoes are a real problem here," said Janik.
West Nile comes from mosquitoes feeding on dead birds. If you live around the woods, be on the lookout. Also be aware if you do get bit and begin experiencing flu-like symptoms.
“But only 1 out of 150 people who are infected, they experience the severe disease or may end up fatal as well," said Syed Ibrahim, MD, MPH with MCHD.
The key is prevention, especially for children.
“Spray ‘em down," said Janik. "If we can get them to put high socks on or pants, we will do that and sometimes they will and half the time they won’t. You just kinda do what you can and hope for the best.”
Mosquito season is, of course, now. It’ll run through the summer, but human infections don't typically peak until October. With rain in the forecast, you can imagine mosquitoes will be laying more eggs in areas where water stands.