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West Nile Virus: Preventing Mosquito Bites

Muggy weather brings out more mosquitoes this week.

Mosquitoes are out in force as hot temperatures and muggy weather plague Northern Virginia this week. Pools of water from rainfall the past few days are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

One person in Maryland , in the state's first death from the virus reported this year. 

Virginia officials report four cases of West Nile Virus in the state, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, including one in Northern Virginia.

West Nile Virus cases are up 40 percent nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds and spread it to people they bite. Symptoms include fever, headache and body aches, and most people get better in a few days.

Fairfax County Health officials offer the following tips to limit contact with mosquitos.

  • "Tip and toss" containers with standing water. Mosquitos breed in a teaspoon or more of water that doesn't circulate or evaporate. This means water remaining in birdbaths, tarps, wading pools, potted plants and other common items found on household property should be dumped out.
  • Clean out gutters and downspout screens to keep water from collecting.
  • Treat corrugated plastic drainpipes connected to building downspouts with mosquito larvicide.
  • Wear loose long-sleeves and pants and use insect repellant to deter bites.

Fairfax County prepared a video (above) with the county's Dr. Jorge Arias, a medical entomologist, to explain West Nile Virus and how to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes. 

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