"We had our first, laboratory confirmed, reported case yesterday; the first one for Lubbock County," Lubbock County Public Health Coordinator Becky Brawley said. A health alert for those headed outside, West Nile is in Lubbock County. Lubbock joins 21 other Texas counties with confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in humans.
Leaders at the Lubbock Health Department say West Nile is off to a late start this year. They say that's a good thing, because we're so late in the season, but the virus is an established threat to humans on the South Plains, and health officials say residents need to take precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.
Not many mosquitoes are actually infected, and less than 1% of people stung will actually become ill. The health department says there is no cure for those who become infected with the West Nile Virus. That's why prevention is your best bet.
Remember the 5 D's: Keep your lawn mowed and Drain any standing water to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. Avoid the outdoors at Dawn and Dusk, when mosquitoes feed. Dress appropriately. If you do go outside, wear long sleeves and pants with thick fabric, and wear repellant containing DEET.
"There's actually a shortage right now. If you are trying to buy insect repellant and you can't find any, that's a good thing. That means people are buying it and they're using it, and that's the best way to prevent West Nile," Brawley said.
NewsChannel 11 called around Tuesday, and most stores tell us they are re-stocked. Eddie Owens with United Supermarkets tells us towards the end of September they moved about 600-cases of repellant. He says stores should have been re-stocked last week.
Across the state, the number of West Nile cases is also down. State health services reports 33-cases of the more serious West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease. That's when people are sick enough that they will most likely see a doctor, while only 18-cases of the least serious West Nile Fever have been reported.
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Learn More About the West Nile Virus