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Mosquitoes Carrying West Nile Virus On the Rise in Texas

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Mosquitoes Carrying West Nile Virus On the Rise in Texas

TEXAS – Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been found in the most populous counties in Texas this mosquito season, along with a handful of human cases.

The first case of West Nile virus in the state this year was reported in Tarrant County in late July. The resident, a Fort Worth senior with underlying health conditions, died from the disease. Since then, Travis and Dallas counties have also each reported one case of WNV as of August 12.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services , the three cases are what’s classified was the “West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease,” the more severe infection that can result from a bite by a mosquito carrying the virus. “It can be a simple mosquito bite that can really be a very severe and debilitating illness. And so really do the things to prevent getting mosquito bites,” said Dr. Phil Huang, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services. "Less than 1 percent of persons who are infected with West Nile have this severe sort of neurologic infection also where it affects the lining around the brain and the spinal cord. And that’s where you get a really high fever, severe headache. You can get other neurologic problems or symptoms: coma, paralysis, confusion, seizures, those sorts of things.”

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Huang said only about 20 percent of people with West Nile virus are symptomatic, but the symptoms associated with it could be potentially confused with COVID-19.

“COVID-19, you can get some of those symptoms similar to the West Nile virus fever, you know, mild headache, fever, body aches. Those would be common. But you wouldn’t have that […]

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