Fast Facts: West Nile virus prevention
The easiest and best way to avoid infection by the West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites, according to the Centers for Disease Control:
by VERONICA GORDON
Hays County physicians have recorded two local known cases of a neurological disease caused by the West Nile virus this summer.
Both victims were were hospitalized and are recovering from West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease the more severe of two illnesses caused by the virus. Symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, convulsions and tremors can escalate to coma, paralysis and death. Both victims were more than 50 years old, putting them in a higher risk category, said Rebecca Herring, a case manager in the Communicable Diseases section of the Hays County Personal Health department.
Health officials are urging residents to take precautions against the mosquito-borne illness, including wearing insect repellant when outdoors.
“There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection,” said Beverley Nix, who works in disease prevention for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The state health department has logged 187 cases of West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease in 25 counties this year, including one person who died in neighboring Travis County, according to public health statistics. Officials have also recorded 114 cases of the less-severe West Nile Fever, which is indicated in humans by fever, headache, muscle and bone aches, nausea and drowsiness.
VERONICA GORDON is editor of the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Free Press and the San Marcos Mercury.