Mosquitos carrying 2 dangerous viruses in Lubbock County

West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus(MGN)
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 9:11 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Most of us haven’t worried about mosquitos for some time, especially now that we are cooling down a little as we move into fall.

Katherine Wells, Director of the Lubbock Health Department, says “Mosquitoes are actually one of our most deadly animals, if you think about it, because they can carry so many different viruses all over the world.”

Wells says mosquitos carry about 50 viruses that can be passed on to humans. But here in Lubbock right now, we are only concerned about two: West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis.

Both are very similar. Both can be deadly. Both have recently been spotted again in mosquito traps across Lubbock County.

Since mosquitos don’t stay within county lines, Wells says our surrounding counties should also be on alert for a mosquito bite that could initially trigger flu like symptoms. The problem comes as the virus develops. In the right person, everything could go wrong.

Wells explains, “You can feel like you have a bit of a cold, you’re tired, and your immune system helps protect you. Other people really can develop those severe neurological symptoms that require hospitalization.”

Wells adds that among those who are hospitalized, some patients end up with paralysis, memory loss or other long term health effects.

She says it’s hard to keep a count of the number of infections from either virus because in both cases, some people can be infected and hardly notice the symptoms.

Bottom line, she says we can’t get relaxed about mosquitos because the weather is changing. They are still out there until the first hard freeze.

Meanwhile, our best defense is to use an insect repellent that contains Deet, especially at dusk or dawn when mosquitos are most active.

Also, in an effort to protect our neighbors, we are all asked to do our part in keeping the mosquito population down by dumping any standing water around your house.