With the first Texas case of West Nile virus disease this year, the Texas Department of State Health Services reminds people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and stop transmission of the potentially deadly disease. The first reported case was in an adult resident of Tarrant County who later died.
DSHS urges people not to give mosquitoes a biting chance by taking a few simple steps:
- Wear long sleeves and pants. Create a barrier to mosquito bites by covering up.
- Apply insect repellent. Use EPA-registered repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus/p-menthane-diol.
- Remove standing water. Emptying out 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.
- West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Most people exposed to the virus don’t get sick, but about 20% develop symptoms like headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. In a very small proportion, less than 1%, the virus affects the nervous system, leading to a more serious illness that can cause neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and even death.
In the last 10 years, Texas has reported more than 3,300 cases of West Nile disease, including 172 deaths.