Texas reports first West Nile virus case of the year

West Nile Virus

DALLAS COUNTY, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Coming out of Dallas County, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported the state’s first case of West Nile virus for 2021.

Explained by the Texas DSHS, West Nile virus is transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes. While most people exposed don’t get sick, around 20% develop symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Muscle / Joint aches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

“In a very small proportion, less than one percent, the virus affects the nervous system,” Said the DSHS, “leading to a more serious illness that can cause neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and even death.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services urged people to “declare WAR on mosquitoes” to protect themselves and their families from West Nile and other mosquito-spread diseases. Tips given by the DSHS included:

  • WEAR long sleeves and pants. Create a barrier to mosquito bites by covering up.
  • APPLY insect repellant. Use EPA-registered repellant such as those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone.
  • REMOVE standing water. Emptying water that accumulates in toys, tires, trash cans, buckets, clogged rain gutters and plant pots will deny mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs and reproduce.

The DSHS advisory continued, “People should also keep mosquitoes out of their homes by using air conditioning and making sure window and door screens are in good repair. DSHS urges people with West Nile symptoms to contact their health care provider and mention any exposure to mosquitoes.”

Last year, the DSHS said that there were 122 cases of West Nile disease in the state and 24 deaths. Over the last five years, Texas has had 805 cases and 63 deaths. Mosquitoes remain active in much of Texas into November and December.

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