West Nile virus found in New Territory mosquito traps, city officials urge caution
Sugar Land city officials are urging caution after West Nile virus was detected at a mosquito trap located in the New Territory subdivision on July 31. The mosquitoes were trapped in the 6000 block of Walkers Park South and lab reports revealed at least one tested positive for West Nile.
Mosquito spraying has been increased to twice each week in the area and city officials say they plan to coordinate with the Texas Department of State Health Services to continue to test mosquitos across the city for the presence of the West Nile virus. Dr. Joe Anzaldua, the City’s medical director and health authority, urged residents to take precautions to reduce potential exposure.
“Residents should use insect repellent whenever they are outdoors and avoid going outside at dusk and dawn,” Anzaldua said in a city press release. “People over 50 years old and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if infected with the virus. If people have symptoms that cause them concern, they should contact their healthcare provider immediately.”
Across the state, two cases of West Nile disease have been reported this summer according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. A case of West Nile fever was recently reported by Austin Public Health and a case of neuroinvasive disease was reported by Dallas County Health and Human Services.
People can be infected by West Nile virus through the bite of an infected mosquito. Last year, Texas reported 135 cases of West Nile illness that resulted in six deaths. Over the last ten years, more than 3,500 illnesses and 167 deaths have been reported in Texas.
About 20 percent of people infected develop West Nile fever, a fever that can be accompanied by headache, muscle and joint aches, nausea, diarrhea and fatigue. Though symptoms may last for several weeks, most people with this form of disease usually recover on their own. Less than one percent of those infected will develop the more severe West Nile neuroinvasive disease, in which the virus infects the nervous system. Symptoms may include those of West Nile fever plus neck stiffness, muscle weakness, vision loss, tremors, convulsions, disorientation, coma and paralysis. Recovery can take months, and some effects on the nervous system may be permanent. But for approximately 1 in 10 people who develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease, the outcome is fatal. People experiencing West Nile symptoms should contact their health care provider for testing. There is no vaccine and no specific treatment.
The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends the following precautions:
Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Dress in long sleeves and long pants when going outside.
Stay indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Drain standing water where mosquitoes breed. Common breeding sites include old tires, flowerpots and clogged rain gutters.
For more information, visit TxWestNile.org