|More cases of West Nile reported in ETX, how to stay safe|
|Written by Clayton Neville|
|Monday, 20 August 2012 19:04|
Two more cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Van Zandt County and four in Smith County.
According to NET Health, which serves Wood, Rains, Smith, Van Zandt, Anderson, Gregg and Smith Counties, the total number of confirmed people with West Nile is 25.
NET Health officials are urging the East Texas Community to take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting the mosquito borne illness. Officials advise using insect repellent, containing DEET, when outdoors and avoid going outside at dusk and dawn.
There has been a higher than usual number of human West Nile cases in Texas this year due to the warm winter and recent rains, particularly in the North Texas region.
Humans can contract West Nile virus from a mosquito bite. Infected mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds and mammals. The milder form of the illness is West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and bone aches, nausea and drowsiness. People with the milder form of illness typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. Officials say up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms and will recover on their own. However, the virus can cause serious illness or death. West Nile neuroinvasive disease symptoms include stiff neck, visual problems, body tremors, mental confusion, memory loss and seizures.
The intensity of West Nile virus activity in Texas fluctuates from year to year and depends on a variety of factors including the weather, the numbers of birds and mosquitoes that maintain and spread the virus and human behavior. The season can last up until the first hard freeze of the year.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection. Doctors say people over 50 years old and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill when they become infected with the virus. If people have symptoms that cause them concern, they should contact their healthcare provider.
To reduce exposure to West Nile virus Net Health advises:
For current confirmed human case counts, www.healthyeasttx.org and click on the West Nile Virus link.