Confirmed cases of West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis Virus in Lubbock mosquitoes

Local News

FILE – This file photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a feeding female Anopheles Stephensi mosquito crouching forward and downward on her forelegs on a human skin surface, in the process of obtaining its blood meal through its sharp, needle-like labrum, which it had inserted into its human host. In a study published Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, scientists say there is evidence a resistant form of malaria is spreading in Uganda, in a worrying sign the top drug used against the parasitic disease could ultimately be rendered useless without concerted efforts from countries and global health officials. (James Gathany/CDC via AP, File)

LUBBOCK, Texas — On Tuesday, the City of Lubbock confirmed mosquitoes in Lubbock tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) and St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV).

According to a news release, the city’s health department has been investigating multiple cases of West Nile Virus in local residents.

Typical symptoms include headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue, according to health officials.

Read the full release from the City of Lubbock below.

The City of Lubbock Public Health Department has confirmed West Nile Virus (WNV) and St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) in Lubbock. Each year vector control places mosquito traps throughout the county. The Biological Threat Research Lab at Texas Tech University then tests the mosquitos for disease. The laboratory notified the Public Health Department that some of the mosquitoes tested positive for WNV and SLEV. In addition, the health department is currently investigating multiple cases of West Nile Virus in local residents. Vector control will increase spraying in the community targeting areas around positive traps. Everyone is encouraged to take steps to reduce mosquito bites.  

WNV and SLEV 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. These diseases cannot be spread person-to-person.

Symptoms can include headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. People will typically recover on their own. Some central nervous system infections may develop and few will experience 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 these infections. 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 or St. Louis encephalitis, they should contact their healthcare provider.

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 and St. Louis encephalitis visit the CDC website at: http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html and https://www.cdc.gov/sle/index.html

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