AUSTIN (KXAN) — A mosquito pool in east Austin tested positive for West Nile Virus, Austin Public Health said Thursday.

The public health agency said the positive test was identified in the 78721 ZIP code, which covers the area east of Airport Boulevard between East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Ed Bluestein Boulevard.

“Although no human cases of West Nile Virus have been identified at this time, the positive mosquito pool indicates the virus is in our community,” APH said in the release.

APH said there were eight positive mosquito pools in Travis County and 1,515 positive pools across the state of Texas, and 77 confirmed West Nile virus cases in 2021.

The mosquito population in Central Texas is at its largest from May through November, APH said. The APH Environmental Vector Control Unit monitors the mosquito population during this time. 

West Nile Virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the U.S. The virus doesn’t spread through coughing, sneezing or touch, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Only about 20% of people infected with West Nile Virus develop symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Of those infected, few develop further serious illnesses affecting the central nervous system, the release said.

However, people over 60 years of age are at greater risk of developing serious disease, as are those with medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease. Organ transplant recipients are also at risk for more severe forms of disease.   

Ways to protect yourself against West Nile Virus

  • Drain standing water: Mosquitoes breed in standing water and need as little as one teaspoon. Emptying water that accumulates in toys, tires, trash cans, buckets, clogged rain gutters, and plant pots will deny mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs and reproduce.  
  • Dawn to Dusk: Although different species of mosquitoes are active at different times of day, the Culex mosquito that spreads West Nile Virus is most active between dusk and dawn.  
  • Dress: Wear pants and long sleeves when you are outside. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing; mosquito repellent clothing is also available.  
  • DEET: Apply insect repellant: Use an EPA-registered repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone. Apply on both exposed skin and clothing.