The Health Department confirms a death related to West Nile Virus. This is the first death investigated since 2007 when two confirmed deaths were reported. The most recent death was in a person matching CDC’s profile for those at highest risk of severe illness--over 50 years of age. The patient died of the more serious form of the illness known as West Nile Neuroinvasive disease.
In addition to this death, the department’s Epidemiology and Health Statistics Unit has investigated six cases of West Nile Virus since August 1, 2012.
“We are concerned that this is an active mosquito-breeding season and that mosquitos have tested positive for West Nile Virus throughout the community,” says Dr. Philip Huang, Medical Director for Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. “West Nile Virus is here to stay in Texas and citizens can do their part by eliminating mosquito breeding areas and remembering the four D’s.”
Dusk and Dawn- Stay indoors during dusk and dawn. That’s the time when mosquitoes likely to carry the infection are most active.
Dress: Wear pants and long sleeves when you are outside, especially in mosquito-infested areas.
DEET: Apply insect repellent that contains DEET. Read and follow label instructions. Spray both exposed skin and clothing with repellent.
Drain: Get rid of standing water in your yard and neighborhood. Old tires, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters leaky pipes and faucets, birdbaths and wading pools can be breeding sites for mosquitos.
Most people infected with West Nile Virus, approximately 80 percent, show no symptoms. About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.