A 48-year-old north Montgomery County resident has been confirmed to have the West Nile Virus, the first case in the county this year. Ten West Nile cases have been reported in Texas this year. The infected Montgomery County resident is doing well, according to health officials.
"Using mosquito repellent isn't the only thing you can do to fend off the virus," said Dr. Syed Ibrahim, chief epidemiologist at the Montgomery County Hospital District Public Health Department.. "Residents also need to wear protective clothing when outdoors and make their home unattractive to mosquitoes by emptying containers that may collect rainwater and sprinkler water."
The West Nile Virus is spread through mosquito bites – mosquitoes acquire the virus from birds and pass it on to other birds, animals and people. Symptoms of West Nile in infected people include flu-like symptoms with moderate to high fever, headache, muscle weakness or joint pain, fatigue and nausea. More severe signs and symptoms can include possible seizures, paralysis and respiratory symptoms. When symptoms of infection do occur, they usually appear 5-15 days from the time an individual is bitten.
Residents should contact their family physician if they think they have been infected.
To help eliminate mosquito-breeding sites and prevent mosquito-borne diseases, residents should do the following:
• Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk.
• Use insect repellent that contains DEET. Children should use insect repellents that contain less than 10 percent DEET. Do not apply DEET on babies. Adults should use insect repellents that contain more than 10 percent DEET.
• Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition.
• Keep storm sewers clean to reduce mosquito breeding.
• Sweep up lawn clippings, leaves and limbs from sidewalks, driveways, curbs and gutters.
• Don't let lawn water or car-washing water enter the street.
• Pick up litter and other debris from the yard and the street.
• Keep mosquitoes out of the house.
• Keep doors and windows closed.
• Seal cracks and gaps in the house.
• If mosquitoes are in the house, use flying insect spray, following label instructions.
• Empty, remove or dispose of anything in the yard that can hold water: flower pot saucers, cans, toys, litter, rain barrels, plastic sheeting, etc.
• Pet water bowls and birdbaths should be emptied and refilled at least twice a week.
• Keep rain gutters on the house clean and properly draining.
• Repair household water leaks and move air-conditioner drain hoses frequently.