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Health Director Warns Of More Human West Nile Cases

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Thursday afternoon officials with Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed the 12th human West Nile Virus infection.

Health workers would only say that the case is from Dallas’ 75216 zip code.

It has already been a very busy season for the West Nile Virus in North Texas.   Until today, Dallas County had already reported 11 human West Nile cases.  Last year there were zero cases.

During an interview on CBS 11 News This Morning, DCHHS Director Zachary Thompson eluded that another human confirmation was imminent.

“Potentially, we [Dallas County] could have a 12th human case by the end of the day,” he stated.

West Nile Virus is spread to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Thompson characterized the number of 2012 West Nile Virus cases as a public health concern and a regional issue.

“When you have this many cases, this early, we have to encourage residents throughout Dallas County and Denton, Collin and Tarrant counties to take precautions,” warned Thompson.

While there have been more human West Nile virus cases reported in Dallas County this year, so far there have been no deaths.

Thompson urged viewers to mosquito proof their homes and suggested that one easy step to help curb the mosquito population is to eliminate standing water.

“People need to clean those birdbaths out,” he said.

North Texans are also being urged to use EPA approved repellant products.  The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) recommends products that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or the synthesized version that’s called PMD.

Severe symptoms of West Nile Virus include a fever, headache, neck stiffness, muscle weakness and tremors.

According to the CDC, people over the age of 50 are at a higher risk of getting a severe case of West Nile Virus.

While human West Nile infection is rare, health professionals advise that, to protect against mosquito bites and potential infection, North Texans should also:

  • Stay indoors at dawn, dusk and in the early evening
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors
  • Repair or replace all screens in your home that have tears or holes

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