Complete coverage of the West Nile virus in North Texas

MedStar: Don't Call 911 for Mosquito Bites

Amid West Nile virus scare, people with no symptoms calling for ambulances

By Scott Gordon
|  Thursday, Aug 23, 2012  |  Updated 11:49 PM CDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
MedStar EMS says some people without West Nile virus symptoms are calling 911 and asking for an ambulance for mosquito bites.

Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News

MedStar EMS says some people without West Nile virus symptoms are calling 911 and asking for an ambulance for mosquito bites.

advertisement

MedStar EMS says some people are calling 911 and asking for an ambulance -- for simple mosquito bites.

A Fort Worth woman recently called the ambulance service to report that her 1-year-old nephew was apparently bitten.

"And I got scared because that bite looks like that mosquito bite like they show on the TV," the woman said.

The 911 operator asked if the baby was awake and responsive.

"Yes, he's playing around like normal," the woman said. "I just want to make sure that it's nothing, you know, dangerous."

MedStar managers say they have received a number of similar calls.

"We've received probably half a dozen to a dozen from people who have gotten bitten by mosquitoes -- no signs of symptoms -- but they call 911," said MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky.

In the case of the 1-year-old boy, an ambulance was dispatched, taking paramedics out of service for 45 minutes. The baby was not transported to the hospital.

"There's been so much discussion in the community about West Nile, everybody is super sensitive," Zavadsky said. "The slightest opportunity for someone to get West Nile, they sort of panic, and they don't know what else to do. We've taught them over the years to call 911, so that's what they do."

But now emergency managers want people to know that a simple mosquito bite is not an emergency.

"You don't need to call 911 if you've been bitten by a mosquito and you're not exhibiting any symptoms," he said.

People with non-emergency questions about West Nile virus can call their local health department or family doctor.

The Texas Department of Health also operates a hotline. The number is 817-264-4612.


West Nile Virus:
Click here for complete coverage of the outbreak of West Nile virus in North Texas. Find updated numbers of human cases, spraying schedules, and more FAQs about the disease.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get NBCDFW on Mobile!
Get NBCDFW's free news and weather... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out