West Nile Virus Confirmed in Lubbock

LUBBOCK, TX - The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed for EverythingLubbock.com on Tuesday that Lubbock County has its first case of West Nile for 2017.  

West Nile can be deadly and is transmitted by mosquitos. The City of Lubbock Health Department is speaking out to warn people of the possible dangers. Although West Nile Virus usually goes away on its own, it can sometimes turn into Neuroinvasive West Nile Virus which is a much more serious health problem. 

"People have died because of the neuroinvasive disease so that's why we want to warn people about it," said the director of the City of Lubbock's public health department, Katherine Wells. "With regular West Nile, you can have fatigue that last weeks and months."

They are warning the public to do everything possible to avoid mosquito bites. This includes using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and long pants and avoiding being outside during dawn and dusk hours. 

Lubbock Vector Control department also said to dump all standing water that is near your home because that can lead to breeding sites for mosquitoes. 

The virus can only be transmitted to humans via mosquito bite. Mammals are considered a "dead end" host for the disease meaning humans cannot pass the virus to other biting mosquitoes.

The following is an official statement provided to EverythingLubbock.com by request: 

The City of Lubbock Health Department has confirmed West Nile Virus in Lubbock for 2017.   Public health surveillance activities have identified the first locally acquired human case and laboratory tests have confirmed WNV in mosquitos.  WNV is a disease of birds. Humans are exposed to the virus when they are bitten by mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds. The infected mosquitoes become the link (vector) that spreads the disease from birds to humans through a mosquito bite. WNV cannot be spread person-to-person.

Symptoms of West Nile virus include headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. People with West Nile fever typically recover on their own.  There is a more serious form of the illness, West Nile Neuroinvasive disease, which may have additional symptoms of neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. Up to 80 percent of people infected with the virus will have no symptoms.

There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection. People over 50 years old and those with other health issues are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill. If people have symptoms and suspect West Nile virus infection, they should contact their healthcare provider.
While we are near the end of mosquito season it is important for individuals to continue to take steps to avoid mosquito bites.  These include:

•              Wearing an EPA registered insect repellant
•              Covering up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants
•              Keeping mosquitoes out of living areas by using air conditioning or intact window screens
•              Limiting outdoor activities during peak mosquito times
•              Dumping standing water around your home

For more information on West Nile virus visit the CDC website at: cdc.gov/westnile  


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