North Texas

West Nile Survivor Has Advice for North Texans

A Flower Mound woman who says doctors diagnosed her with West Nile virus has a warning for other North Texans.

"They should just be more informed that it's in their area," said Rebekah Knapp. "Go ahead and use protection if possible and not take for granted that it couldn't happen to them."

The 44-year-old mother of two spent eight days in a Flower Mound hospital, where she said doctors first diagnosed her with viral meningitis and then later West Nile virus.

"I felt very dizzy, so flu-ish, but very dizzy and then just flu-like symptoms," said Knapp.

Knapp suspects she was bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile in her own backyard when she went outside to garden without wearing any repellent.

Health officials advise wearing mosquito repellent all day, every day.

On Monday, three more human cases of the West Nile virus were announced in North Texas, including a Lewisville resident and two people in Dallas County.

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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