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Dallas County Confirms 6th Human Case Of West Nile Virus

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas County Health and Human Services says a Oak Cliff resident was diagnosed with West Nile fever, the county’s sixth human case of the virus this year.

The patient lives in the 75224 ZIP code in Oak Cliff, the same area where a man was diagnosed with the neuroinvasive form of West Nile, the most severe form of the virus. The victim is a 58-year-old man, said Pamela Smith, spokeswoman for Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The Mayo Clinic categorizes West Nile fever as a “mild infection” that triggers head and body aches, fatigue, back pain and occasionally a skin rash, swollen lymph glands and eye pain. Again, this case is not the more serious neuroinvasive form of the virus, which infects fewer than 1 percent of victims and can cause death.

The county has now logged two cases of West Nile in Dallas, one in University Park, one in Garland, one in Grand Prairie and another in Garland.

“Dallas County wants to alert the public that the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are here and they’re active,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director. “Our mosquito surveillance program and the county and municipal abatement teams are taking the appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our residents. However, it is important that residents do their part by taking the necessary precautions to avoid exposure to the virus.”

People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes. The best way to avoid exposure to West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites:

· Use insect repellents that contain DEET or other EPA-approved repellents.

· Dress in long sleeves and long pants, if outside during dawn and dusk hours, when mosquitoes are more active.

· Drain any standing water and install or repair window screens.

People are infected with West Nile virus through the bite of an infected mosquito. Since there is no specific treatment for the virus, Dr. Christopher Perkins, DCHHS medical director and health authority says “the first line of defense to prevent West Nile virus infection is to avoid getting bitten in the first place.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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