Fight the Bite

Lago Vista residents are being urged to take precautions against West Nile and the Zika Virus.  The Zika virus is a newly emerging mosquito-borne virus in the Americas. The mosquito that carries Zika is endemic to Central Texas.  At least two cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in Travis County and at least one in Williamson County.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is typically mild and lasts one week. In Brazil, Zika virus infections in pregnant women may be associated with birth defects (microcephaly) and fetal loss. Zika virus is transmitted to persons primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito, although sexual transmission and transmission by contaminated blood products have been reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Currently, there is no vaccine for the Zika virus.  According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, your best protection to avoid infection is to prevent mosquito breeding and protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Prevent Mosquito Breeding:

  • At least weekly, empty or get rid of cans, buckets, old tires, pots, plant saucers and other containers that hold water.
  • Keep gutters clear of debris and standing water.
  • Remove standing water around structures and from flat roofs.
  • Change water in pet dishes daily.
  • Rinse and scrub vases and other indoor water containers weekly.
  • Change water in wading pools and bird baths several times a week.
  • Maintain backyard pools and hot tubs.
  • Cover trash containers
  • Water lawns and gardens carefully so water does not stand for several days.
  • Screen rain barrels and openings to water tanks or cisterns.
  • Treat front and back door areas of homes with residual insecticides if mosquitoes are abundant nearby.
  • If mosquito problems persist, consider pesticide applications for vegetation around the home.

Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites

  • Wear Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.  When used as directed, these insect repellents – including those that contain DEET – are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Cover up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Keep mosquitoes out with air conditioning or intact window screens
  • Limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito times.

People who are traveling to areas where Zika is being spread should protect themselves from mosquito bites while abroad and for 21 days after returning home to help prevent infection and to keep from spreading the virus to mosquitoes in Texas in case the travelers were exposed to Zika.

The first case of West Nile has also been confirmed in Texas for 2016.  According to TDSHS, in 2015, West Nile caused 275 reported cases of illness in the state, including 16 deaths.  The same precautions taken against Zika should also be used against West Nile.

For more information on the Zika virus, vista www.TexasZika.org.  

You can also view this presentation by Lago Vista Police Department's Capt. Reyes.

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