Connect with us

U. S. News

Dallas County faces surge in West Nile virus cases



The Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services has reported an increase in cases of the West Nile virus. This year, 19 cases have been confirmed, with the majority detected in the last 30 days. The first case this year was in July.

The department’s records show that 79% of these cases, or 15 of the 19 patients, were diagnosed with West Nile neuroinvasive disease. This form of the virus severely affects neurological functions. Sadly, two deaths have resulted from the virus.

Most of these cases, 16 of 19, are in Dallas, Dallas Metro News reported. The cities of Irving and Grand Prairie reported two and one cases respectively. Specifically, the Lake Highlands and Lakewood areas in ZIP codes 75231 and 75243 have reported two cases each.

Tests on mosquitos in Lake Highlands and Lakewood show the presence of the virus in ZIP codes 75214, 75238, and 75243. A full list is available on the DCHHS website.

In contrast, there were only three cases in 2022. Christian Grisales, a department spokesperson, suggests that increased outdoor activity, likely due to relaxed pandemic restrictions, and less use of insect repellents could be factors in the rise.

“As people are returning to the new normal and going back to enjoying outdoor activities, that’s probably the reason why we’re seeing more cases,” Grisales commented.

With cooler weather in North Texas, there may be more mosquitos. Grisales advised residents to be cautious.

“We want people to know that if you have a mosquito bite, you should monitor your symptoms, and if you need to seek medical attention, do so immediately,” he said.

The West Nile virus mainly spreads through mosquito bites. Mosquitos get the virus from infected birds. Rarely, the virus can spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, mother to child during birth, or breastfeeding.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that only one in five people with the virus show symptoms. These can be mild or severe, including fever, joint pain, vomiting, and rash. Some people might feel tired for months after recovering. Symptoms usually appear three to fourteen days after a mosquito bite.

The virus is more common in the summer and fall. There is no vaccine or specific treatment, but rest, fluids, and some medicines can help with symptoms.

To prevent the virus, the DCHHS advises:

DEET: Use repellents with DEET or other EPA-approved ingredients. Dress: Wear long, loose, and light-colored clothing. Drain: Remove or treat standing water to stop mosquitos from breeding. Dawn and Dusk: Stay indoors during these times when mosquitos are most active. By following this advice, the community can help reduce the spread of the virus.

“Mosquitos aren’t going anywhere—they’re going to be around,” Grisales said. “What we can do to prevent mosquito bites is what will make a difference.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *