Since the beginning of the year, medical news has had an almost singular focus on COVID-19, which is to be expected during this unprecedented pandemic. However, the attention given to the coronavirus threatens to overshadow other serious illnesses, including West Nile Virus infection. News stations in Texas have lately been discussing the current increase in the numbers of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus, particularly in the northern counties of the state.
In Dallas County, there have been a reported 11 cases of West Nile virus since the beginning of the year, according to a Dallas County news source. Out of these cases, four have resulted in death.
The Dallas County Health Department stated that West-Nile-infected mosquitoes have been found in traps this season in the cities of Addison, Balch Springs, Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Coppell, Dallas, DeSoto, Duncanville, Farmers Branch, Garland, Glenn Heights, Highland Park, Hutchins, Irving, Lancaster, Mesquite, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park.
The West Nile activity is higher this year than last, and health officials speculate that the heavier-than-average rains in June and July may have played a role in the increase. At this time, ground-spraying for mosquito eradication has been scheduled in the near future. A map has been released to the public showing the tentative areas around Dallas to be treated.
Dr. Priya Subramanian, an infectious disease specialist at Medical City North Hills in North Richardson, Texas, agrees that although COVID-19 symptoms can resemble those of West Nile virus infection, the possibility of the latter should be considered in the face of a negative COVID test. This is especially true during the summer months.
Only one in five individuals infected with West Nile Virus will manifest noticeable symptoms. However, with the increase in West Nile activity this year, Dr. Subramanian advised that any person who has been in mosquito-prone areas and is having symptoms should at least call their physician. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rash.
A small percentage of people infected with the virus (about one in 150) develop serious diseases affecting the central nervous system, including inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).
The Dallas County Health Department is recommending guidelines for people to decrease their exposure to mosquitoes, which they refer to as the “4Ds.” These are:
Considering the current increase in West Nile Virus threat, it makes sense to consider one of MosquitoNix’s efficient, highly successful mosquito control solutions:
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