NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Across North Texas, the number of West Nile virus cases is growing. Some 80 human cases have been reported. However, West Nile warnings are being met with mixed results. “You can’t control what you can’t control,” Frank Souders of Richardson says. “I don’t think it’s dangerous at all. If it happens, it happens.”
Dallas County has already seen two deaths connected to the virus, including 82-year-old Highland Park resident Charles Pistor. “Yes, it’s bad — we know it’s bad. That’s why they’re calling,” says George Armstrong from All-Safe Pest & Termite.
Some homeowners are so worried that they are turning to professionals to control the pests at their homes, realizing that the cities’ spray efforts can only go so far. “I believe the West Nile concern has gotten a lot of people’s attention,” says Armstrong.
The very young, the elderly and those already ill are most at risk for contracting the West Nile virus. Health officials warn it can happen to anyone, even the young and healthy. It already has. “We’ve had people as young as in their 20s, up unto their 80s contract illness due to West Nile virus,” says Sandra Parker from the Tarrant County Medical Director.”
Several years ago, Kristen Malinowski was infected by the West Nile virus. “It can happen to you.” says Malinowski. “And if I can’t be a good example, let me at least be a cautionary tale. Some things you just don’t want to be that cavalier with, and your health is one of them.”
Tips to Avoid West Nile Virus:
- Wear insect repellent whenever you go outside
- Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
- Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks whenever possible
- Wear light-colored clothing, as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors
- Eliminate mosquito breeding sites like used tires, cans and areas of standing water and empty water from flower pots, bird baths, and other containers weekly
- Ensure all roof gutters are clean and properly draining
- Clean and chlorinate pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs
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