DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s that time of year again. The temperatures are starting to get warmer, the winter clothing is getting packed away, and more people are heading outside to enjoy the weather. But health officials have a warning for North Texans. It’s also mosquito season.
Mosquito season typically runs from April to November.
Dallas County Health and Human Services updated the public Friday on this season’s plan to battle mosquito-borne illnesses like the West Nile virus. The briefing included medical experts, city leaders and a West Nile survivor who recalled the danger and severe impact that a single bug bite can have.
Sean Lemoine’s voice still quivered as he spoke Friday, the result of a paralzyzed diaphragm and vocal chords that he got while sick with the West Nile virus. He was playing outside with his kids in east Dallas when he was bitten by a mosquito. The illness started as a fever, and then progressed. “The pain was excruciating,” he said.
The county wants people to take proactive steps and be prepared this spring and summer.
“We want people to take it serious,” stated commissioner John Wiley Price on Friday. “I think we have heard it so many times that we begin to not take it seriously.”
In addition to mosquito traps being placed by the county, and then continued surveillance, health officials on Friday reviewed the standard reminders for preventing mosquito bites. Those include things like wearing long clothing to cover up your arms and legs, using insect repellent, and draining all standing water that you may have in your yard.
This is a major health concern in Dallas County. There were 26 confirmed cases of the West Nile virus last year and two deaths in the county. There were also two imported cases of chickungunya and 10 imported cases of dengue in Dallas County — all are mosquito-borne illnesses.
Tarrant County saw 20 cases of West Nile virus, one case of chickungunya and one case of dengue last year.