AUSTIN (KXAN) — The State of Texas has its first case of West Nile virus in a person this year, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced Tuesday.
The agency reported the case in a Dallas County resident, and while most people don’t get sick when an infected mosquito bites them, about 20% of people who are bitten develop symptoms. The symptoms are similar to many illnesses with headaches, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. Less than 1% of people who are infected can suffer severe symptoms like neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and paralysis. Death, albeit rarely, can occur.
There were 122 confirmed cases of West Nile disease in Texas last year with 24 deaths, DSHS said. In the past five years, Texas tallied 805 cases with 63 deaths. Mosquitos are active into November and December in parts of Texas, and DSHS says people can “declare WAR” on mosquitos by remembering the tips below.
- Wear long sleeves and pants. Create a barrier to mosquito bites by covering up.
- Apply insect repellant. Be sure to get an EPA-registered repellant like ones containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone
- Remove standing water aruond your property. Empty water that builds up in birdbaths, shallow pools, toys, tries, trash cans, buckets, clogged rain gutters, etc. Mosquitos lay eggs in and reproduce in stand water.
Locally, mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been trapped in Williamson County. Officials there took samples from a trap near Granger in June, and that was the earliest the virus had been detected in the county since the Integrated Vector Management program began in 2013.