West Nile Virus still very active


Earlier this month, the Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) identified a second locally-acquired human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) neuroinvasive disease in Williamson County for 2020. The person is in their 70s and resides in central Williamson County.

Thirteen positive West Nile virus mosquito trap samples have been reported this season in Williamson County, which exceeds the previous highest total number of 12 in a single season.

One of the latest positive trap location was reported in Granger. That is the fourth area with West Nile virus activity in the County. In addition to Granger; Southwest Williamson County Regional Park/New Hope Drive area in Leander, Georgetown near Sun City and Georgetown Village, and Brushy Creek Community Center, near the intersection of Great Oaks Drive and Racine Trail in Round Rock, all have traps with mosquito testing positive for West Nile virus. The positive sample taken from one of three trap sites near the Brushy Creek Community Center was the second trap to test positive for West Nile virus in two weeks in the Brushy Creek area.

“The report of the second human case of West Nile virus, and multiple positive trap sites in Williamson County are evidence of very high virus activity,” said Dr. Lori Palazzo, WCCHD Medical Director, and Williamson County Health Authority. “Taking simple steps to avoid mosquito bites by protecting yourself with insect repellent each time you are outdoors, especially at dusk and dawn, and by preventing mosquito breeding areas around your home is the best way to prevent becoming ill.”

Symptoms of West Nile virus infection may include fever, headache, and body aches, skin rash on the trunk of the body, and swollen lymph nodes. Those ages 50 and older and/or with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for severe symptoms, which may include stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, vision loss, paralysis, and in rare cases, death.

West Nile virus cannot be passed from human to human, infection occurs from a bite of an infected mosquito. WCCHD strongly encourages everyone to remain vigilant about protecting themselves from mosquito bites and to prevent mosquito breeding on their personal property. Mosquitoes breed in standing water, only needing as little as one teaspoon. By draining all sources of standing water in and around your property, you can reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.

The Health District recommends the 3 Ds of mosquito safety as part of its “Fight the Bite” campaign:

• Drain standing water in flower pots, pet dishes, or clogged gutters so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed and treat water that can’t be drained,

• Defend by using an EPA-approved insect repellent, and

• Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors.

For the latest information about West Nile virus in our area visit the WCCHD website at www.wcchd.org or visit the Texas Department of State Health Services West Nile website at txwestntxwestnile.org.

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