10 West Nile Virus cases confirmed in Bell County
Thursday, 06 September 2012 by Keith Bahlmann
Bell County Public Health District would like to report 10 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus for the county.
One case resulted in death. Health care providers are being asked to keep a high level of suspicion in cases that look to resemble West Nile, and ask that testing be ordered.
Humans can contract West Nile virus from a mosquito bite.
Infected mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds and mammals. 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 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.
Up to 80 percent of cases will have no symptoms and recover on their own.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection.
People over 50 years old and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill when 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 they should take four important steps.
The first is to use an approved insect repellent every time you go outside and follow the instructions on the label. Approved repellents are those that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
The second step is to regularly drain standing water, including water collected in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.
Wearing long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active is another way to reduce mosquito bites.
Finally, use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
For more information on West Nile virus, visit http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/arboviral/westNile/
If you have any other questions/comments/concerns, please contact Lacey Sanders, BCPHD, Disease Surveillance Coordinator at (254) 773-4457.