D.C. officials are asking city residents to do what they can to prevent mosquito bites after several samples of the insects tested positive for West Nile virus and one person contracted a non-fatal infection.
Health officials were unable to provide details about the single human case, but noted an infection is often marked by flu-like symptoms.
The health department said it will test mosquito samples through the summer and into the early fall.
West Nile virus has made headlines this summer, especially after a recent outbreak in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. Unlike its Texan counterparts, The District “does not spray aerosol applications for mosquitoes and has not done so in the past 20 years.”
The District cannot spray larvicide or adulticide on federally owned property and the pesticide spray can trigger asthma or other respiratory conditions, requiring residents to stay indoors for hours after the application to mitigate its negative health effects, according to the DOH.
They said the virus’ primary transmitter, the Asian tiger mosquito, is a day-flying insect, so spraying at night would be ineffective and insecticides could kill many insects that are “unintended targets.”
Residents are advised to eliminate standing water, in which mosquitoes thrive. They should clear gutters, flush bird baths and keep their pets’ food and water bowls indoors, according to the D.C. Department of Health.