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Health officials offer tips for avoiding West Nile Virus

A mild winter, even by Texas standards, means public health officials are on guard for a possible increase in West Nile virus cases this year. Research shows that warmer winter temperatures are associated with more West Nile cases the following summer. Plus, heavy and widespread rain across Texas this spring has left behind standing water that provides mosquitoes ample breeding grounds to multiply and spread their misery. Just this week, Harris County health officials have reported a mosquito captured west of downtown Houston tested positive for West Nile. That is the first positive test of the season in neighboring Harris County. During the summer and fall months ahead, many of us will be spending more time outdoors. With that in mind, officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services are urging special precautions to reduce the risk of contracting the mosquito borne West Nile Virus. Texas Department of Health Services reports human West Nile symptoms can include headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. In most cases, those with West Nile Virus will recover on their own; however, health officials say the symptoms can last up to several weeks. The more serious form of the virus causes neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, muscle weakness, convulsions and paralysis. There are no medications to treat the illness or vaccinations to prevent it, but there are ways to reduce exposure. The Texas Department of Health Services offers the following tips to reduce your risk of contracting the virus. When outdoors, use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk. They also suggest draining standing water and keeping screens on doors and windows. According to experts with Texas Department of Health Services, cases of West Nile neuroinvasive disease usually occur in the late summer or early fall. However, Texas has a variety of climates, and when temperatures are mild, West Nile virus can be transmitted year round. With that in mind, health experts say it’s best to try to protect yourself all year long.To find out more, visit the state’s website at www.txwestnile.org.

 

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Mon  9/16 DCDC 
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Wed  9/18 Dayton ISD
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Fri 9/20 Liberty County Extension Service 
 
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