First sample of West Nile Virus found in northeast Harris County

A Culex pipien mosquito specimen in the insect collection at the Field Museum shows the type of mosquito that carries the West Nile virus. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The first sample of West Nile Virus was confirmed through a sample collected in northeast Harris County near Humble, Texas in mid-June.

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The sample was collected by the Harris County Public Health Mosquito and Vector Control Division (MCVD).

"Our Mosquito and Vector Control Division has more than 50 years of experience serving Harris County and protecting residents from mosquito-borne diseases," Director of MCVD, Chris Fredregill said. "When mosquito samples are confirmed positive for mosquito-borne disease, our team moves quickly to address and treat the area of concern."

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The warm weather provides peak conditions for mosquitoes to breed, specifically between May and October.

There were 56 species of mosquitoes found in Harris County, but only a handful carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, Saint Louis Encephalitis, Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika.

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As we spend more time outdoors heading into summer, remember to protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne diseases. Following the tips below can help you stay safe from mosquitoes this summer.

Heavy rain can create a perfect environment for mosquitoes to breed.

  • Empty standing water from pet bowls, flowerpots, tires, buckets, and other containers.
  • If you have a birdbath, change the water every three to five days.


Small areas with standing water you may not see can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Reduce the possibility of breeding in those spots by:

  • Tossing out debris, trash, and other unwanted items around your home.
  • Cleaning out clogged rain gutters.
  • Keep outdoor trash bins closed and avoid overfilling them.
  • Do not sweep lawn clippings, leaves, or litter into storm drains to prevent water from flowing and unnecessary flooding.
  • Minimize the chance of standing water by removing flowers pots, buckets, tires, and other water-collecting objects you no longer need.

You can also reduce mosquito populations by dumping standing water with mosquito pesticides in areas where water cannot be covered, emptied, or removed and will not be used for drinking. They are safe to use for the environment.

Make sure you turn off outdoor faucets to prevent leaks completely and fix any faucets that are constantly leaking. If you can, keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows.

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When using mosquito repellent, remember to use the product as directed and not to use it on babies under two months old. Also, do not use repellant products with the oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than three years old. Try to apply an EPA-registered repellent when outdoors and when possible, wear long sleeves, pants, and socks.

Fredregill said, "We encourage residents to take precautions this mosquito season and reach out to us if they have questions, concerns or are in need expert advice.

Follow the HCPH Facebook page or website for other mosquito bite and breeding prevention tips and resources.