July 19, 2006

West Nile File

Out of five reported cases in the country this year, three cases of the West Nile Virus have been reported in Dallas County. The cases have been reported in Dallas, Carrollton and Mesquite. Health Department officials are working with these cities to institute mosquito population controls. No information is being released about the conditions of the three patients.

The following steps are provided by health officials to help eliminate mosquito breeding sites and to prevent the mosquito borne diseases.
  • Wear long pants and long sleeve shirts when outdoors especially at dawn and dusk.
  • Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition.
  • Use mosquito repellent when outdoors (use repellent according to label, use up to 30% DEET for children 2 months or older).
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water such as old tires, cans and blocked gutters.
  • Maintain swimming pools.
  • Empty or cover small swimming pools when not in use.
  • Keep birdbaths and fountians clean changing the water often.
  • For indoor mosquito control use a "flying insect spray".
  • Empty outdoor containers like flower pots and buckets.
  • Repair leaking plumbing and outside faucets.

The West Nile Virus is spread through the sting of a mosquito and can lead to encephalitis (brain infection). Health Officials provide the following symptoms in humans that can indicate possible West Nile infection.

  • Flulike illness with moderate to high fever (102° or more).
  • Severe muscle ache or joint pains
  • Severe eye pain
  • Mental changes
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory symptoms

West Nile Virus can also infect your pets. Health officials provide the following symptoms to look for in animals.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Convulsions

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