Texas health officials have confirmed Texas’ first case of the West Nile virus in 2019.
An adult in El Paso County was reported with the virus in July, according to the El Paso Department of Public Health.
Additional cases have been reported in El Paso, but are currently being reviewed.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Only 20 percent who get bitten develop symptoms like headaches, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea, and fatigue. In less than one percent, the virus affects the nervous system leading to more serious symptoms causing neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and even death.
In 2018, 146 cases were reported including 11 deaths. In five years, 1,305 cases have been reported with 57 deaths.
The Texas Department of State Health Services asks people to declare WAR on mosquitoes, protecting themselves and their families from diseases spread by the insects.
- WEAR long sleeves and pants to create a barrier against mosquito bites.
- APPLY insect repellent. Use EPA-registered such as those containing DEET, picaridin, IR 3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus/p-methane-diol.
- REMOVE standing water. Dump out water that accumulates in toys, tires trash cans, buckets, clogged rain gutters, and plant pots which is where mosquitoes reproduce and lay their eggs.
Mosquitoes can also be kept out of homes by using air conditioning and making sure window and door screens are in good condition.
People with West Nile symptoms are asked to contact their health care provider and mention any exposure to mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes can remain active during November and December, so health officials encourage precautions to be taken.