Denton County

Denton County Raises Risk Level as Second Human Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed

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Denton County Public Health reported Wednesday its second human case of West Nile virus this year.

In a public health alert, the city of Denton entered "Risk Level 5" of its mosquito surveillance and response plan Wednesday, the highest risk level.

At Risk Level 5, the probability of a person contracting a mosquito-borne disease like West Nile virus is high, according to a press release from the city.

“With both mosquitoes and humans testing positive for West Nile virus in Denton County, we ask community members to remain vigilant in mosquito source reduction and the utilization of repellents,” said Juan Rodriguez, DCPH Assistant Director and Chief Epidemiologist, in a statement. “These simple actions are easy ways to protect yourself and others from mosquito-borne illnesses.”

Denton will continue routine surveys of mosquitoes in Risk Level 5, as well as increase the amount of biological agents applied to kill mosquito larva.

Denton County reported its first human case five days ago on Aug. 21. The city entered Risk Level 4 of its mosquito surveillance program on June 24.

People age 50 and older run a higher risk of developing a severe infection.

About 20% of infected people will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

DCPH recommended the following steps to minimize the risk of contracting West Nile virus: draining standing water, dressing in long sleeves and pants while outside and defending yourself using repellent.

How to Protect Yourself From Mosquito Bites

  • Dress in long sleeves, pants when outside: For extra protection, spray thin clothing with repellent.
  • DEET: Make sure this ingredient is in your insect repellent.
  • Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood: Mosquitoes can develop in any water stagnant for more than three days.

It has been recommended in the past that to avoid mosquito bites you should avoid being outdoors during Dusk and Dawn (the 4 Ds). While this is true for mosquitoes that commonly carry the West Nile virus, other types of mosquitoes that are more likely to carry Zika, dengue and chikungunya are active during the day. When outdoors, no matter what time of day, adjust your dress accordingly and wear insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus as your first line of defense against insect bites

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