Tuesday, the city of Lubbock’s Health Department confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus in Lubbock for the year 2016.
Lubbock’s Director of Public Health, Katherine Wells, spoke with EverythingLubbock.com Tuesday about this case of West Nile.
While the city sent a release out about the case Tuesday, it’s likely the patient had the virus for months.
“The person was symptomatic of– we believe the person had the virus– later August, and it took a little additional time to get the test results and actually determine that it was a case,” Wells said.
She explained that because West Nile is a reportable condition, individual doctors will test for it, then report the results to the health department.
Wells said that because several pools of mosquitoes in Lubbock tested positive for the virus in September and October, it is not surprising to see a human case.
She explained that this case is unusual because the Lubbock area usually sees it’s first human West Nile case earlier in the year. Wells added that the warmer weather has helped to extend the mosquito season this year.
“Other areas of the state have had much higher numbers of West Nile this year and luckily I think we’ve done well with all of our reminders about Zika, our population has done really well with avoiding mosquito bites, and then Vector Control has done their part, and I think it’s a good thing that it’s taken this long for us to have this case,” Wells said.
Lubbock Vector Control said that in the past two weeks their mosquito numbers are starting to drop off more, but reiterated their department will continue spraying and treating for mosquitoes until after the first freeze hits.
Wells added that as long as mosquitoes are still out in the area, the public needs to make sure they are still wearing mosquito repellent and dumping standing water near their homes.
Dr. Steve Presley who runs the mosquito surveillance program for the city out of Texas Tech’s Biological Threat Research Lab explained that the Lubbock area could still see more human cases of West Nile this year.