West Nile Virus in Houston Nearly Gone

The West Nile Virus outbreak in the Houston region is nearly over. Health officials say they're finding fewer infected mosquitoes.

This was the worst year for West Nile Virus in Texas since the disease was first discovered here in 2002.

But Harris County Mosquito Control Director Dr. Rudy Bueno says the number of disease-carrying mosquitoes has dropped off significantly in the past two weeks.

“You know we were getting maybe between 50 and 70 samples that were positive a week in the mosquito pools. And now we’re seeing single digit and today the report that came in, we didn’t have any positive samples.”

Bueno says that’s typical for this time of year.

Mid- to late-September is when mosquitoes start dying off and West Nile virus disappears with them.

As for what we can expect next year, Dr. Bueno says there’s no way to predict it.

“A lot of it is definitely weather-dependent. It’s probably going to depend on what kind of winter we have and then, in the early spring especially, what kind of rains we have. So it’s just a shot in the dark right now as far as what we’re going to see.”

This year there were 26 human cases in Harris County and 64 cases in the City of Houston, including four deaths. Fort Bend County reported eleven cases. Across the state, 61 people died from the disease.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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