In late July, a mosquito caught in Plano tested positive for West Nile Virus. It was the fourth reporting in Collin County this year.

Fortunately this year there have been no reported cases of humans with West Nile Virus in Collin County. That is in stark contrast to 2012, when the County reported 76 cases of West Nile, four of which resulted in death.

Collin County cities, including McKinney, do not plan to let their guard down.

The City of McKinney continues to monitor mosquito activity and take measures to control mosquitoes, as reported in a special page on the City’s website. To prevent an outbreak of West Nile Virus like the one Collin County experienced in 2012, McKinney started treatment for mosquito control early in 2013. Larviciding treatments for areas with standing water, and surveillance and trapping of mosquitoes to test for West Nile Virus began earlier than normal this year.

The mosquito surveillance program of trapping and testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus will continue until the first freeze. Spraying is typically done when a positive case is found.

Dead birds will not be tested, but residents are encourage to call and report dead birds as this may be an area that mosquitoes could be tested for West Nile Virus.

Collin County announced in late June that West Nile Virus Web Pages are available on the County’s website.

You can keep updated with weekly reports released every Friday by Collin County’s Health Authority regarding the West Nile Virus. Click here to view.

How can you protect yourself and your family against West Nile Virus? Follow the four D’s:

Dusk to Dawn: Stay indoors during evening to early Morning hours — from about 7:00 pm to 6:00 am. This is when mosquitoes are most active… and hungry!

Dress: In long sleeves and pants when outdoors. Clothes are that magic barrier to keep mosquitoes from finding skin to bite.

Dump and Defend: Get rid of any water outside that has been standing for more than three days, including stagnant swimming pools, birdbaths, pet dishes, empty pots and planters, clogged rain gutters, etc. Mosquitoes only need a few inches of standing water to breed, so keep policing the outside of your home to get rid of all of it!

While you’re at it, keep unwanted pest guests out of your home by repairing or installing window and door screens.

Deterrent: Use insect repellant containing DEET or other proven deterrents (here’s a list) on your outer clothing and exposed skin (never skin under clothing). These products are safe when used according to their directions. And they help keep mosquitoes and other insects like ticks away!

For questions contact the Collin County Health Department at 972-548-5500 or online at co.collin.tx.us/healthcare_services.