The Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District Vector Control Division will begin mosquito surveillance for West Nile Virus on May 3.

According to Annette Rodriguez, Director of Public Health, the surveillance will help Vector Control in identifying the areas of the city and county where positive mosquito pools are located. Once the areas are identified, intensive control operations will be directed to those areas.

If there are any positive mosquito pools found, the Health District will inform the public through press releases to the media in addition to posting the information on their Web site at www.ccpublichealth.com.

West Nile Virus is a disease spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not spread by person-to-person contact. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

Dr. William Burgin Jr., Local Health Authority for the Health District, advises Nueces County residents to take precautions as follows to help reduce the risk of infection:

Use an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Drain standing water from around homes. Empty cans, buckets, tires, rain gutters and flower pot bases regularly. Change the water in pet bowls, bird baths and wading pools several times a week. Mosquito-proof houses. Make sure door seals are secure and window screens are intact. Limit the amount of time spent outdoors from dusk to dawn when many species of mosquitoes are most active. Cover as much skin as comfortable when outdoors

Symptoms of WNV may include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, occasionally a skin rash, sometimes on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands. Illness can be as short as a few days or last several weeks.

If persons develop symptoms, they should see their physician for appropriate blood testing for confirmation of the illness. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious symptoms of WNV if they do get sick and should take special care to avoid mosquito bites.

This year in Texas, West Nile Virus has been reported in a test sample of mosquitoes in Harris County. No human cases of WNV have yet been reported in Texas in 2010.