T he Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed a case of the human West Nile virus has been reported in Travis County.
Dr. James Alexander confirms this is the first case in Texas for 2014. Last year, 183 cases were reported in Texas, including 14 deaths. The West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne illness and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Up to 80% of people with the virus will have no symptoms and there are currently no medications or vaccines to treat or prevent.
West Nile season typically runs from June through October. The intensity of the virus varies from year to year, and can last up until the first hard freeze of the year. The Department of State Health Services suggests practicing the 4 D's to try to prevent from getting the virus:
1. Dust & Dawn - strive to avoid being outdoors at these times.
2. Dress appropriately - wear long sleeves and long pants.
3. Defend yourself - by using an effective insect repellent and making sure doors and windows are closed, and window screens are in good condition.
4. Drain any standing water on your property regularly.