TYLER, Texas (KETK) – 67 cases of West Nile virus have been reported to Texas Health and Human Services so far in 2023.
Three cases have been reported in the following East Texas counties: Smith, Bowie and Franklin counties.
Within the past month, Smith County had the most recent positive case.
“About 80 percent are going to be asymptomatic, roughly 20 percent, most of the remaining will develop a West Nile fever. A small percentage of individuals can develop the neuroinvasive which can be quite severe,” said Dr. Brent Moore, the Texas Regional Zoonosis Control Veterinarian with the Texas Department of State and Health Services, Region 4/5 N.
CEO of Innovative Pest Control in Tyler, Tony Santangelo said their mosquito season has extended for almost two months because of summer like temperatures.
“We’ll start in April and then go through September, but we’ve been working all October this year, doing mosquitoes. We had a call yesterday for mosquitoes,” said Tony Santangelo, Innovative Pest Control.
The virus can also infect birds, horses and your pets.
“There’s one specific mosquito around here, this Asian tiger mosquito that carries it, that’s very common around here and they’re very aggressive,” said Santangelo.
Dr. Moore wants the public to not be alarmed.
“We have relatively low expected numbers throughout the state of Texas. We maintain consistently without the major outbreak years,” said Moore.
Experts recommend you protect the outside of your home.
“Dump any standing water because that’s where the mosquito larvae are coming from. Once they are air borne, they are exponentially harder to get rid of,’ said Santangelo.
Other recommendations are to not get bit is to use repellants, wear long sleeves and avoid mosquitoes around dusk and dawn.
“Wearing long sleeves, long pants, using repellants while out during those active times tend to be the best control measures,” said Moore.