West Nile and Zika virus

Residents should protect themselves with deet or mosquito repellent this summer to avoid contracting West Nile virus or Zika virus. 

On Sept. 9, Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) reported the eighth and ninth human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in Dallas County for 2020. The first patient is a 66-year-old resident of the 75227 zip code. The second is a 40-year-old resident of the 75233 zip code. Both are residents of Dallas and were diagnosed with West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease (WNND). Additionally, DCHHS is reporting the third and fourth West Nile associated deaths for the 2020 season. The third death was a 75-year-old resident of 75081 zip code in Richardson followed by the fourth death that was a 53-year-old resident of 75208 zip code in Dallas. Both were diagnosed with WNND. For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, DCHHS does not provide additional identifying information. To date, DCHHS has reported eleven West Nile virus cases, four of which were West Nile associated deaths.

This season, mosquito samples have tested positive for WNV in the cities of Addison, Balch Springs, Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Coppell, Dallas, Desoto, Duncanville, Farmers Branch, Garland, Glenn Heights, Highland Park, Hutchins, Irving, Lancaster, Mesquite, Richardson, Rowlett, and University Park. Ground spraying this week is scheduled in the cities of Cockrell Hill, Desoto, Dallas, Duncanville, Glenn Heights, and Lancaster.

“The confirmation of additional human cases and deaths due to West Nile virus this year is an extremely important reminder to the community of the need to take steps to avoid mosquito bites and to reduce mosquito populations,” said Dr. Philip Huang, Director of DCHHS. “Staying vigilant and practicing the 4Ds are the best ways to avoid exposure to mosquito-borne diseases.”

• DEET: All Day, Every Day: Whenever you’re outside, use insect repellents that contain DEET or other EPA approved repellents and follow instructions.

• Dress: Wear long, loose, and light-colored clothing outside.

• Drain: Drain or treat all standing water in and around your home or workplace where mosquitoes could lay eggs.

• All Day long: Day, Dusk and Dawn - Limit your time outdoors mosquitos are active anytime day or night.

WNV is a disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes can become infected when they feed on the blood from infected birds. The infected mosquitoes can then transmit WNV to humans and animals. Severe WNV infections can cause neurologic complications such as encephalitis. Milder symptoms include fever, headache and muscle aches. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for WNV. For more information, visit www.dallascounty.org/departments/dchhs/westnile.php.

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