LOUISVILLE, KY - AUGUST 25: Matthew Vanderpool, environmental health specialist and entomologist for the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, displays a mosquito collected earlier in the day on August 25, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. Vanderpool specializes in mosquito control, a public health process that involves placing traps to collect specimen, identifying various mosquito species, and testing the samples for mosquito-borne diseases. Lab technologists test for Saint Louis encephalitis, West Nile virus, La Crosse encephalitis, and Eastern equine encephalitis.
According to MeckNc.gov, Public Health officials want to alert residents to be cautious of mosquito-borne illnesses while enjoying the warm weather. This comes as West Nile Virus (WNV) activity has increased across North Carolina. At this time in Mecklenburg County, there are two confirmed case of West Nile Virus in humans. There are a total of four confirmed cases in the state.
“I know this is a great time of year to be outdoors, but we want to make sure the public is taking caution and protecting themselves. When you’re outdoors, use mosquito repellent. Take note of any standing water around your home and empty those containers as they can be a breeding ground for mosquitos. Enjoy the weather, but be cautious,” said Dr. Raynard Washington, Public Health director.
Most people who contract WNV experience no symptoms or a mild, flu-like illness. Approximately 20% of infected people will present with a fever and other symptoms  including headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. While rare,  around 1% of WNV infections cause serious conditions, including encephalitis, meningitis, and meningoencephalitis, and can lead to death.
In an effort to protect yourself against West Nile Virus in Mecklenburg County make sure to reach for that bug spray or light a citronella candle if you are planning on being outside!