For the first time this season, the City of Arlington has a confirmed human case of West Nile virus.
Officials won't identify the victim for privacy reasons, but say that person lives in the 76018 ZIP code, which is in the southeast part of the city. They're also revealing that person was diagnosed with the more serious neuroinvasive form of the disease.
"It's very concerning," said Assistant Fire Chief Bill McQuatters, who helps oversee the city’s West Nile virus prevention efforts. "We've tried to take a very proactive approach [to mosquitoes] in Arlington all year."
McQuatters said the city regularly traps and tests mosquitoes in 18 locations across the city and uses larvicide in areas where their eggs are discovered. Since confirming the human case, they and a contractor they use to spray for mosquitoes have set additional traps near the victim’s home.
"We received one result back today from one of the traps and all the mosquitoes trapped were negative," said McQuatters.
They expect to receive more results on Friday. If any come back positive for West Nile virus, they will spray the area early next week.
In the past two weeks, three traps in Arlington have tested positive for West Nile virus — including one in the 76018 ZIP code area.
McQuatters said although the peak of mosquito season is nearly over, he hopes this first human case serves as a reminder to people to take common sense steps to prevent bites:
- Stay indoors from dusk to dawn when infected mosquitoes are most active
- Dress in long sleeves and pants when you’re outside, particularly late and early in the day
- Use insect repellent with DEET
- Drain any standing water in your yard where mosquitoes can breed