The Centers for Disease Control reports that the number of cases of West Nile Virus in 2012 constitutes the largest outbreak in U.S. history. Though more than 1100 cases have been reported in the U.S. so far in 2012, the DC Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed only one reported instance this year.
“Since the beginning of the summer, the District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH) has identified the West Nile Virus in several mosquito samples throughout the District. Despite the positive samples, there has only been one confirmed (nonfatal) case of West Nile Virus in the District of Columbia," said DC DOH Interim Director, Dr. Saul Levin, in a prepared statement.
Levin advised residents to "reduce mosquito pools in and around homes" and to "take proactive precautionary measures to prevent mosquito bites and subsequently transmission of the West Nile Virus."
- Dispose of cans, bottles and open containers properly. Store items for recycling in covered containers.
- Remove discarded tires. Drill drainage holes in tires used on playground equipment.
- Clean roof gutters and downspouts regularly. Eliminate standing water from flat roofs.
- Turn over plastic wading pools, wheelbarrows, and canoes when not in use.
- Cover waste containers with tight-fitting lids; never allow lids or cans to accumulate water.
- Flush bird baths and potted plant trays twice each week.
- Adjust tarps over grills, firewood piles, boats or swimming pools to eliminate small pockets of water from standing several days.
- Re-grade low areas where water stands; clean debris in ditches to eliminate standing water in low spots.
- Maintain swimming pools, clean and chlorinate them as needed, aerate garden ponds and treat with “mosquito dunks” found at hardware stores.
- Fix dripping water faucets outside and eliminate puddles from air conditioners.
- Store pet food and water bowls inside when not in use.
To learn more about prevention and health concerns surrounding the West Nile Virus, visit the CDC website's West Nile Virus section at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm or the DC DOH website at doh.dc.gov/doh/site/default.asp.