City Issues Statement on Preventing West Nile Infections

Published 07/03 2014 10:32AM

Updated 07/03 2014 10:40AM

LUBBOCK, TX (PRESS RELEASE) -- Hot weather and stagnant water can be ideal conditions in which mosquitoes flourish. And while most mosquitoes are simply an annoyance, some may carry West Nile infections.
There have been no reported human cases of West Nile Virus in Lubbock County thus far in 2014 but the City of Lubbock Health Department wants to remind citizens that the best way to protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne illness is to use an insect repellent every time you are outdoors. WNV is a disease of birds. Humans and horses get 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 man or horse through a mosquito bite. WNV cannot be spread from bird to man, horse to man or person-to-person.
Symptoms can develop within 2 to 14 days after being bitten and vary:
  • No symptoms in most people. Most people (70-80%) who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.
  • Febrile illness in some people. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
  • Severe symptoms in a few people. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).
People most at risk of developing symptoms include those older than 50 and those with compromised immune systems. Contact your local health care provider if you suspect West Nile illness. There is no specific treatment for West Nile infections.
Prevention is key in eliminating the risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Citizens can further reduce exposure with the following activities:
Remember the 4 Ds when enjoying outdoor activities.
Dawn and Dusk, DEET, Drain, Dress
1.      Avoid being out when mosquitoes feed – usually at Dawn and Dusk.
2.      Wear protective clothing. Long sleeves and pants when outdoors. (DRESS)
3.      Use appropriate repellant and according to instructions on the label. Spray clothing with repellent as mosquitoes can bite through thin fabric. Apply repellent to exposed skin. CDC guidelines recommend repellents containing up to 35% DEET for adults, up to 10% DEET for children. Repellents can irritate the eyes and mouth so avoid applying to children’s hands.
4.      Avoid perfume – it attracts mosquitoes.
Protecting the Home:

1.      Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes from indoors.
2.      Get rid of standing water around the house. Mosquitoes need water to breed. Empty plant saucers, pet dishes, and any containers, such as old tires that have collected water. Change the water in kiddie pools and birdbaths daily. (DRAIN)
3.      Keep yard mowed. Mosquitoes hide in tall brush and grasses.
4.      Lubbock County residents are asked to report problem areas with mosquitoes by calling the Mosquito Hotline at 775-3110.
Consult your physician for any illness that you suspect may be “West Nile Virus”.

(Press release from City of Lubbock) 

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