Experts say ‘no need to panic’ about mosquito borne illnesses in Virginia
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s mosquito season, and experts say they aren’t going anywhere soon.
If you get bit by an infected mosquito, you could get a disease, so experts say the best way to prevent that is by knowing what to do.
“No need to panic, but you should be aware of protecting yourself from mosquito bites,” said Randy Buchanan with the West Nile Surveillance Department of Henrico County.
The CDC is reporting 190 people in the United States have been infected with West Nile Virus, with 130 of those people having their nervous systems affected. The West Nile Virus comes from Asian Tiger Mosquitos, also called container mosquitos.
“Around here, Asian Tiger Mosquitos pretty much rule. They bite during the daylight hours. They will come in your house at night at bite during the nighttime hours if you don’t have screened windows,” said Dr. David Gaines, an entomologist with VDH.
Buchanan said most people don’t get bitten by an infected mosquito, but if you do, there are two extremes, no symptoms or West Nile Fever, which could quickly worsen.
“It can transform into a neurological form of the disease that’s like meningitis, and if that happens, there’s nothing you can do, there’s no cure, so it’s a life-changing event,” Buchanan explained.
To best protect yourself, experts say to wear long, loose clothing outside and keep containers in your yard dry. There isn’t a way to get rid of them completely, and there’s no way of knowing what to expect.
“It’s here to stay, but it’s not predictable, so we can’t look at the weather and say okay this is going to be a big year for mosquitos or West Nile Cirus or other mosquito-borne diseases.”
Experts say humans cannot spread West Nile, so the only way to get it is if an infected mosquito bit you.
Usually, the mosquitos get the disease after biting an infected bird.
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