First Confirmed Human Case of West Nile Virus - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


First Confirmed Human Case of West Nile Virus

The City of Lubbock Health Department has received the first confirmed case of West Nile Virus (WNV) human case for 2008 in Lubbock County.  The West Nile Virus season in Lubbock County this year has had a late start and to date has been mild.  Last year Lubbock County had 5 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus.

West Nile Virus is now an established threat to humans, horses and birds in the South Plains area, and residents need to take precautions to prevent being bitten mosquitoes.  WNV is a disease of birds. Humans and horses get exposed to the virus when they are bitten by mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds. The infected mosquitoes become the link (vector) that spreads the disease from birds to man or horse through a mosquito bite. WNV cannot be spread from bird to man, horse to man or person-to-person. Few mosquitoes are infected with WNV, and less than 1% of people who get bitten and become ill will get severely ill (1 out of 150). There is no cure for WNV.

Symptoms of WNV can be mild to severe, starting with fever, and any of the following: weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, headache, muscle aches, rash and swollen glands. The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of developing severe WNV symptoms.

Symptoms can develop within 3 to 14 days and can last from 3 to 6 days.

Prevention is key in eliminating the risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Citizens can reduce exposure with the following activities:

Remember the 4 Ds when enjoying outdoor activities - Dawn and Dusk, DEET, Drain, Dress:

  1. Avoid being out when mosquitoes feed - usually at Dawn and Dusk.
  2. Wear protective clothing. Long sleeves and pants when outdoors. (DRESS)
  3. Use appropriate repellant and according to instructions on the label. Spray clothing with repellent as mosquitoes can bite through thin fabric. Apply repellent to exposed skin. Repellents can irritate the eyes and mouth so avoid applying to children's hands.
  4. Avoid perfume - they attract mosquitoes.

Protecting the Home:

  1. Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes from indoors.
  2. Get rid of standing water around the house. Mosquitoes need water to breed. Empty plant saucers, pet dishes, and any containers, such as old tires that have collected water. Change the water in kiddie pools and birdbaths daily. (DRAIN)
  3. Keep yard mowed. Mosquitoes hide in tall brush and grasses.

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