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No cases of West Nile reported in county
The Wilson County Office of Emergency Management has reported that, as of Aug. 21, no cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the county.
Health experts explain that the large increase of reported cases throughout the country is due to the incredibly warm winter, which led into an early spring and now extremely hot summer.
The Centers for Disease Control website states that most often, the West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans, horses, many types of birds, and some other animals when they bite.
Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to avoid becoming infected with the West Nile virus. Remember the “Four Ds” of DEET, Dress, Dusk and Dawn, and Drain:
• Apply insect repellent that contains DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Spray exposed skin and clothing with repellent. Another option is to use permethrin, which should be applied only to clothing. Be sure to read label instructions on any repellent.
• Dress in long sleeves and long pants when you are outside.
• Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, times when infected mosquitoes are most active.
• Drain standing water in your back yard and neighborhood; old tires, flowerpots, and clogged rain gutters are mosquito-breeding sites.
Most people infected with West Nile virus will not have any signs of illness. Twenty percent of people who become infected will have mild symptoms, such as fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands.
Fewer than 1 percent of those bitten by infected mosquitoes become severely ill. The symptoms of severe infection (West Nile neuroinvasive disease) include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Only about one out of 150 people infected with West Nile virus will develop this more severe form of the disease.
The incubation period of West Nile virus in humans is three to 14 days. Symptoms of mild disease may last a few days. Symptoms of severe disease may last several weeks, although neurological effects may be permanent. Rarely, death can occur.
People older than 50 have the highest risk of severe disease, and people with weakened immune systems are at an increased risk for West Nile virus.
There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus infection. In severe cases, intensive supportive therapies are indicated, such as intravenous fluids and medicine to control fever or pain. Antibiotics may be given for any secondary bacterial infection.
For more information, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website at www.dshs.state.tx.us.
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