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San Jacinto News Times - Local News

Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company

 

West Nile cases increasing

 

COLDSPRING – Montgomery County has reported two additional cases of the human West Nile virus, bringing the total number of cases to four as of Friday. Reports from the Texas Department of State Health Services indicate there are 552 state-confirmed cases of West Nile illness in Texas so far this year, including 21 related deaths. Currently there are no reported cases in San Jacinto County, but there have been six cases of human (WNND) in Angelina County and one case of West Nile Fever. Trinity County has one reported case of West Nile Fever, as does Liberty County. In addition to aerial spraying efforts in Dallas and Harris County state health officials are urging people to protect themselves by using insect repellent and draining standing water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. During a recent meeting of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG), it was announced that funding may be available for aerial spraying of mosquitoes, which transmit the virus from birds to humans. “County Emergency officials in the DETCOG region should file a request for assistance under the same provisions that they normally follow,” DETCOG Executive Director Walter Diggles said. San Jacinto County Emergency Management Coordinator Judy Eaton urges anyone participating in outdoor activities to always use mosquito repellent containing DEET and follow label directions regarding the proper use. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, West Nile virus is a virus commonly found in Africa, West Asia, and the Middle East. It is not known how long it has been in the United States, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe the virus probably has been in the eastern United States since early summer 1999. It is closely related to St. Louis encephalitis virus found in the United States. The virus can infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses, and some other animals. 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. 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 Homethree 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. The best way to protect your family from West Nile Virus is by removing standing water or other potential mosquito breeding areas from around your home. If you find a dead bird, do not handle it with your bare hands. Contact local emergency management or health department officials for instructions on reporting and proper disposal of the body

 

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