West Nile Virus

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West Nile Virus in South Central Texas and Beyond

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne disease that can occur all over the United States, including Texas. It is usually contracted via a bite of an infected mosquito, but in rare cases has been known to occur in people who have had blood transfusions, organ transplants, or from mother to baby.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, mosquitoes become infected from biting infected birds, and therefore it cycles from mosquito to bird, to mosquito, etc. When an infected mosquito bites a human or another mammal, the cycle ends there, and it doesn’t transmit back to mosquitoes.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is a deceiving disease. Up to 80% of people do not experience symptoms. According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 people will develop a fever and other symptoms that include:

  • Headache
  • Body ache
  • Joint pains
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash

Most people with this type of WNV will recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. West Nile Virus cycle

West Nile Virus can be severe

However, a more severe and neurological strain of WNV occurs in less than 1% of people infected, which can be deadly. Symptoms of the more serious WNV include neck stiffness, high fever, headache, coma, seizures, tremors, and paralysis. Around 10% of these cases can lead to death. Those at higher risk include people who are:

  • 60 years or older
  • Cancer patients
  • Diabetics
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney disease
  • Organ transplant recipients

West Nile Virus in Texas

However, no one is completely safe. Last year, an Elgin boy died after contracting this type WNV.

The Texas Department of State Health Services monitors West Nile very closely in human cases, animal cases, and mosquito populations. Last month, it was detected in a mosquito pool in Bexar County. Below is a graphic depicting the latest activity across the state, as of October 10:

Map of West Nile in Texas

Unfortunately, there is no specific antiviral treatment or vaccination for West Nile Virus. If you experience symptoms, see your doctor immediately, as you may need to be hospitalized if it is considered severe.

Prevention is the best remedy.

Your best defense against WNV is the prevention of mosquito bites. Using an approved insect repellent every time you go outside, regularly draining standing water in your yard (including in empty cans, tires, buckets, toys, etc.), wearing long sleeves and pants, and using air conditioning are all great precautionary measures, however a much more effective way to ensure mosquitoes are not in your backyard at all. Mosquito Squad of South Central Texas offers our traditional barrier spray treatment to eliminate 85-90% of mosquitoes and ticks in your yard. Its special time-released formula will continue to work for up to three weeks, after which our technicians will come back and spray again to keep your yard mosquito free. Call us today at (830) 254-5176 for a free, no-obligation quote.

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