WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – Williamson County officials said Thursday a mosquito trap sample collected in Georgetown tested positive for West Nile virus.

According to the announcement from the Williamson County and Cities Health District, the positive sample was collected from a trap site near Geneva Park at 1021 Quail Valley Drive. The last date a positive sample was collected from this location was October 2022.

WCCHD said this is the first reported West Nile virus positive trap of the 2023 season.

It is the earliest that West Nile virus has been detected in a mosquito sample in Williamson County, WCCHED said, since the health district began its mosquito sampling program in 2013.

In 2022, four mosquito trap samples returned positive samples for West Nile virus in Williamson County. There was one human case of West Nile virus reported in Williamson County in 2022.

According to WCCHD, the Central Texas mosquito population is largest and most active from May through November. The health district monitors the mosquito population and tests for mosquito-borne viruses during that period.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 8 out of 10 people infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.

The CDC said about 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

And the CDC said about 1 in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).

The CDC recommends homeowners do the following to get rid of mosquitoes.

  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
  • Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
  • For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
  • Fill tree holes to prevent them from filling with water.
  • If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.

As part of its “Fight the Bite” campaign, the health district recommends the “three D’s” of mosquito safety:

  • Drain standing water in flowerpots, pet dishes or clogged gutters, so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed, and treat water that can’t be drained;
  • Defend by using an EPA-approved insect repellent; and
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.

For more information, WCCHD said residents can go to the WCCHD website or visit the Texas Department of State Health Services West Nile website.