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Texas confirms first 2014 West Nile case
The Texas Department of State Health Services on July 3 confirmed the state’s first case of West Nile illness of the season. The agency is urging people to take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne illness.
West Nile fever was confirmed in a patient from Travis County. Additional details about the patient are not being released to protect the patient’s identity.
The West Nile season typically runs from June through October. The season can last up until the first hard freeze of the year. Last year, there were 183 human cases of West Nile illness in Texas, including 14 deaths. The best way to protect yourself is by using insect repellent every time you go outside.
Symptoms of the milder form of illness, West Nile fever, can include headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea, and fatigue. People with West Nile fever typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. Symptoms of the more serious form of illness, West Nile neuroinvasive disease, can include those of West Nile fever plus neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Up to 80 percent of people infected with the virus will have no symptoms.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection. People over 50 years old and those with other health issues are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill or dying when they become infected with the virus. If people have symptoms and suspect West Nile virus infection, they should contact their health-care provider.
For more information, visit http://bit.ly/1zb19GF.
Tips to reduce West Nile virus
To reduce exposure to West Nile virus:
•Use an approved insect repellent every time you go outside and follow the instructions on the label. Among the EPA-approved repellents are those that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and para-menthane-diol products.
•Regularly drain standing water, including water collecting in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters, and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus breed in stagnant water.
•Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
•Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
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