Officials have conducted weekly tests throughout the city since June, and some of the mosquitoes that have been collected and tested for West Nile virus have tested positive, according to a news release from the city.
The positive results have been found in three areas:
- Oxford Drive in the Kings Grant neighborhood.
- North Witchduck Road in the Kempsville area.
- Constitution Drive in the Pembroke area.
Jennifer Barritt, biologist with the city’s Mosquito Control, said the samples were collected on June 25, and those three are areas that historically had West Nile virus positives.
The primary vector of West Nile virus in the region is culex pipiens/restuans, which breeds in water with a higher organic content, so larvaciding efforts by Mosquito Control will focus on stagnant water where mosquitoes may be breeding, such as ditches, stormwater catch basins, standing water in horse pastures and other areas, officials said.
Nighttime spraying efforts are being increased, and drainage maintenance crews are clearing clogged ditches and pulling debris from drainage pipes to keep water moving and reduce the number of breeding sites.
Residents are urged to dump any containers that may catch and hold rainwater since these can be prime breeding sites for mosquitoes.
West Nile virus is an uncommon viral disease that is spread to birds, humans and other mammals through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Most people infected have no symptoms, but some have mild flu-like symptoms and a small number develop more serious neurological disorders.
Those over the age of 50 or with immune system disorders are at greater risk of serious illness.
The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health advises residents and visitors to take necessary precautions to avoid mosquitoes:
- Wear long, loose and light colored clothing.
- Use insect repellent products registered with the EPA. No more than 50 percent DEET for adults and less than 30 percent DEET for children. Use care when applying repellents to children. Follow all label instructions.
- Turn over or remove containers in your yard where rainwater collects, such as plant trays, buckets, and toys.
- Clean birdbaths and wading pools weekly.
- Check window and door screens so mosquitoes cannot enter the home.
The biology lab will continue to monitor and test mosquitoes and will release additional information if West Nile virus activity continues to increase and spread to other areas.