West Nile Virus confirmed in Azle
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
A 21-year-old Azle woman is one of three Parker County residents newly confirmed to have contracted the West Nile Virus (WNV), according to Parker County Emergency Management (TCEM).
That brings the total number of confirmed WNV cases in Parker County to five.
A 79-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man, both of whom live in Weatherford in the 76086 zip code, are also confirmed to have the disease.
Although there have been no deaths attributed to WNV in Parker County to date, all five confirmed cases in the county are of the more serious neuroinvasive form of the virus, according to a press release from TCEM.
Two previously confirmed cases within the county involve a 75-year-old Poolville male living in the 76487 zip code and a 64-year-old Weatherford female living in the 76086 zip code.
As of Sept. 13, Tarrant County reported 256 confirmed cases of the disease and has recorded seven deaths.
With the five confirmed cases of WNV in Parker County, County Judge and Emergency Management Director Mark Riley recommends residents of the county be mindful of methods to prevent the virus.
Joel Kertok, public information officer for Parker County, said it can take state officials up to three weeks to confirm a case of WNV diagnosed by a local physician. That means that while five cases have been confirmed, there could be others awaiting confirmation.
PCEM officials said the best defense to avoiding WNV is to practice these habits, known as the ďFour Dís:
1. Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
2. Dress in long sleeves and long pants when you are outside.
3. Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
4. Drain standing water where mosquitoes breed. Common breeding sites include old tires, flowerpots and clogged rain gutters.
According to Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), humans can contract West Nile Virus from a mosquito bite. Infected mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds. The virus can cause serious illness or death. West Nile neuroinvasive disease symptoms include stiff neck, visual problems, body tremors, mental confusion, memory loss and seizures.
The milder form of the illness is West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and bone aches, nausea and drowsiness.
People with the milder form of illness typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. Up to 80 percent of people infected with WNV will have no symptoms and will recover on their own.
The intensity of WNV activity in Texas fluctuates from year to year and depends on a variety of factors including the weather, the numbers of birds and mosquitoes that maintain and spread the virus and human behavior.
The season can last until the first hard freeze of the year.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile Virus infection. People over 50 years old and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill when they become infected with the virus. If people have symptoms that cause them concern, they should contact their healthcare provider.
For more information on the West Nile Virus visit the DSHS web site at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/arboviral/westNile/.