Tarrant County Confirms Ninth West Nile Death - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Complete coverage of the West Nile virus in North Texas

Tarrant County Confirms Ninth West Nile Death



    A Watauga resident in his 40s with West Nile virus who did not have underlying medical conditions has died. His death is the ninth fatality in Tarrant County this year. (Published Monday, Oct. 8, 2012)

    Tarrant County Public Health confirmed that a ninth person has died after contracting West Nile virus.

    The latest victim was a Watauga resident in his 40s who did not have underlying medical conditions.

    Watauga officials told NBC 5 the man's death was the first West Nile virus death they can remember.

    The city of Watauga said that it would not ground spray for mosquitoes.

    "We have sprayed in the past and received several complaints from citizens with upper respiratory problems," city spokeswoman Marcia Reyna said.

    Watauga said in a statement that it was focusing on killing mosquito larvae. The city is placing mosquito larvae-eating minnows in its drainage channel and using mosquito dunks in abandoned pools.

    "With all the new EPA guidelines about chemicals and their required use, we feel it is safer to not spray, which helps prevent contamination of water ways, lakes and streams," the city said.

    Watauga said it also decided against fogging because there is no control over where the fog may go and because it kills adult mosquitoes instead of mosquito larvae.

    "The city feels it is better to try and kill the larva before it becomes a mosquito," the city said.

    The death in Watauga brings the total number of North Texans who have died after contracting the virus to 36 for 2012.

    Also Monday, Dallas County confirmed that an 18th person with West Nile virus there had died. The death of the patient from Addison occurred a month ago but was just reported to the county on Monday, health officials said.

    West Nile Virus Facts

    Most people bitten by a West Nile virus-infected mosquito will not show any symptoms. Symptoms, if they appear, are fever, headache, nausea, body aches, swollen lymph nodes and skin rashes.

    Fewer than 1 percent of those infected with West Nile virus experience the serious form of the illness. Serious symptoms include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors or convulsions, vision loss, muscle weakness and numbness or paralysis.

    North Texas health officials are urging residents to:

    • Drain standing water around their homes to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.
    • Dress in pants and long sleeves when outside, but avoid becoming too hot.
    • Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET to exposed skin and to clothing when outdoors.
    • Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

    NBC 5's Greg Janda and Omar Villafranca contributed to this report.

    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.