11 tests show WNV in Brookhaven mosquitoes

Published 11:30 am Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Testing of mosquitoes in Lincoln County shows the rate of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes has more than doubled in the past 24 hours.

Traps in Brookhaven have shown 11 mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus, according to a Wednesday update from the state health department. It’s a substantial increase from Tuesday’s number of five positive tests, though no cases of West Nile have been reported in humans or animals in Lincoln County. Other positive samples were found in Hinds County (3) and Washington County (1).

Three positive cases of the virus in humans had been reported to the state as of Wednesday — one each in Oktibbeha, Hinds and Adams counties.

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In 2021, Lincoln County had 13 positive tests from mosquitoes, but no cases of the virus in humans or animals, according to MSDH. The county had 60 positive mosquito tests in 2020, but still no cases in humans or animals.

Thirty-nine positive samples were collected statewide in 2021. Eight cases were reported in humans and four in horses that year.

But Vector Mosquito Control Brookhaven manager Scott Williams says the city is “looking good, especially compared to other parts of the state.”

The five samples that tested positive in Brookhaven prior to Wednesday’s results were found in traps across the city. Two of the insects came from a trap at Halbert Heights and Avenue B; and one each came from traps on Pritchard, Rushing Street and behind the Vector office on Congress Street.

“Everything is looking good” in the city’s mosquito control so far, Williams said. Spraying in Brookhaven has gone well and stayed pretty much on schedule, even considering the rains. Dispensing larvicide is proceeding well, also. The treatment kills mosquitoes in the larval stage.

“When you get them as larva, for each baby you prevent 200 to 300 adult mosquitoes,” Williams said. “From April 1 until now, we’ve sprayed (the) equivalent of 1,693 spray miles.”

“We’re still early in the season. It hasn’t gotten bad and hopefully it won’t,” Williams said Wednesday. He did not yet have details on where the additional positive samples were found.

Mosquitoes are prevalent throughout the warm days of the year in Mississippi, and will continue to be an issue at some level until late in the year.

“Once you get below the 50s at nighttime, (the ‘mosquito season’) is pretty well done,” Williams said. “It’s more of a temperature thing than a seasonal thing.”

West Nile Virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. People cannot become infected through ordinary contact with an infected bird, horse or human. While the risk of a healthy person contracting the virus from a mosquito bite is “very low,” according to MSDH, people should protect themselves against mosquito bites whenever possible.

No West Nile deaths have been recorded in Mississippi since 2017, when there were two. Two were also recorded in 2016, and one in 2015.