West Nile virus

First Denton County Resident Dies From West Nile Virus in 2020

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Denton County Public Health reported its first death due to West Nile virus Friday.

The person who died with West Nile neuroinvasive disease was a Denton resident. No other information was released about the death.

The county reported its first case on Aug. 21, its second case on Aug. 26 and its third case on Aug. 27.

“Today’s announcement of a community member passing due to West Nile virus is a stark reminder to us all,” stated Juan Rodriguez, DCPH chief epidemiologist and assistant director. “Mosquitoes can be deadly. We urge community members to utilize the drain, dress, and defend recommendations to protect their families from illness and death.”

After the second case, DCPH raised the risk level 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.

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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