Mosquito samples in D.C. reveal West Nile virus

Health authorities in Washington found the West Nile Virus in several mosquito samples in the area and suggest that residents should eliminate possible breeding sites for mosquitoes.

While West Nile virus typically infects birds, infected mosquitoes can transmit the virus to humans. Authorities detected the virus in mosquito samples around the nation, though there are as of yet no human cases detected, the Washington Post reports.

Most West Nile infections are reported in August and September, but a mild winter, early spring and hot summer created a scenario that fosters additional breeding. Mosquitoes can breed in standing water in barrels, buckets and flower pots.

There are more serious West Nile virus cases reported this year so far compared with any year since 2004, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Approximately one in five infected people experience symptoms, including headache and fever. One out of every 150 people infected develop serious symptoms, including disorientation, neck stiffness, high fever, coma and paralysis. People with weak immune symptoms and the elderly are more vulnerable to West Nile infection, according to the Washington Post.

The CDC recommends that people use mosquito repellent on their clothing and skin to protect themselves from West Nile and other mosquito-borne diseases.