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Mosquito collection tests positive for West Nile virus in Orange County

Special to The Leader

 

Orange County Mosquito Control District has been informed by the Texas Department of Health that a collection of mosquitoes from Orange County tested positive for West Nile virus. The mosquitoes testing positive for WNV were collected on August 2nd from an area on the west side of the County – North of IH-10, East of HWY 105, West of Doty Rd. and South of Sawmill Rd., in Vidor. This is the 1st sample of mosquitoes testing positive for the West Nile virus in Orange County in 2016. This information tells us that the virus is cycling between the birds and the mosquitoes in the area. So, it is important for everyone to take personal protective measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites regardless of what area it is that they live in throughout the county. Currently, West Nile virus activity in Texas is as follows: Mosquitoes Collections 903, Bird’s 1, Horses 4, Humans 37, Total 945. West Nile virus activity has been detected in 26 counties in Texas so far this year.

Treatments in the area have been increased and we are following up with additional mosquito collections and the testing of samples from the area to determine whether or not viral activity still exists. These procedures will continue until we receive negative results from the T.D.H. labs.

Our surveillance program collects mosquitoes throughout the county on a weekly basis. Those samples are then sent to the Texas Department of Health’s Bureau of Laboratory’s in Austin to test for viral presence. The tests normally take about a week before we get the results back.

With mosquitoes and West Nile virus circulating in the state, residents need to take personal protective measures when outdoors to protect themselves from mosquito bites. One of the first lines of defense against contracting the illness is the use of an EPA approved repellant when mosquito activity is present. According to TDH, 77 percent of the people who got the more serious forms of West Nile infection did not practice the use of repellants.

Other personal protective measures to reduce exposure to mosquitoes are moving indoors at dust

and dawn when many mosquito species are most active, wearing light colored loose fitting clothing as a physical barrier from the mosquito and draining standing water from property.

Although, one percent or less of humans who are bitten by an infected mosquito will become significantly sick or show signs or symptoms anyone can become infected with West Nile virus. Individuals age 50 and above are at greater risk, especially those whom have medical problems or compromised immune systems. This group can develop the more serious forms of the illness including encephalitis and meningitis. Symptoms of West Nile virus appear from 3 to 14 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. West Nile virus infections usually are mild with flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue. Symptoms of more severe West Nile infections are headache, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, coma and paralysis. If you have these symptoms, contact your health care provider right away.