Cases of West Nile Virus Peaking in Texas: Symptoms & How to Protect Yourself

August 26, 2012by Brian Talley

Mosquito.west.nileFrom Great Hills to Circle C, residents of Austin, TX are nervous about the recent outbreak of West Nile virus. “People around the country are understandably very concerned,” says Lyle Petersen, director of the Division of Vector-borne Infectious Diseases at the CDC, “especially in hard-hit areas like Texas, where almost half the cases have been reported.”

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Texas Department of State Health Services recently hosted a discussion regarding the recent outbreak of West Nile Virus cases in the region. “The number of West Nile virus disease cases in people has risen dramatically in recent weeks,” said Petersen, “and indicate we’re in the midst of one of the largest West Nile virus outbreaks ever seen in the United States. The CDC is working closely with state and local public departments to control the outbreak.” 

As of August 21, 2012, 47 states in the U.S. had reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes. Of these, 38 had human cases. A total of 1,118 cases and 41 deaths have been reported to the CDC. In comparison, one month ago, there were only 25 people with West Nile virus disease reported to the CDC.

“The peak of West Nile virus epidemics usually occurs in mid-August, however it takes a couple of weeks before people get sick, go to the doctor and get diagnosed, and then are reported,” explained Petersen. “The risk of West Nile virus infection will probably continue through the end of September. Therefore, it’s important for people to continue taking steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”

What can you do to protect you and your family?

3 Ways Texans Can Protect Themselves:

Prevent.West.Nile1. Use insect repellant and wear long sleeves and pants while outdoors.

2. Try to stay indoors from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

2. Install or repair screens on windows and doors, and use air conditioning if you have it.

3. Empty standing water items from outside your home, such as gutters, buckets, birdbaths and kiddie pools.

Are you concerned you or someone you love may be infected?

Symptoms of West Nile Virus:

– 2 to 15 days after an infected mosquito bite, symptoms may appear.

– 80% of cases (4 out of 5) are asymptomatic and cause no symptoms.

– 20% of cases (1 out of 5) develop into West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, and occasionally, a skin rash on the trunk of the body. West Nile fever symptoms can last from a few days to several weeks.

– 1% (1 in 150) of these cases, typically in the immune-compromised, progress into a more severe form of the disease, called West Nile encephalitis, meningitis or poliomyelitis. Symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. If you develop a high fever with severe headache, consult your health care provider.

Prevent.West.NileThe REALTORS® at Regent Property Group want to help protect Austin residents by spreading the word about West Nile virus. They also help home-buyers stay on top of the latest in Lake Austin real estate trends. If you’re on the lookout for Austin home for sale, try Austin Home Search.