Texas Reports Year’s First West Nile Case

News Release
News Release
August 19, 2019

News Release
Aug. 13, 2019

Public health officials haveconfirmed the state’s first case of illness caused by West Nile virus in 2019.The disease case, reported by the El PasoDepartment of Public Health, occurred in July in an adult resident of El Paso County.Additional cases reported by El Paso are likely to add to the total once theyare reviewed by the state.

West Nile virus is transmitted throughthe bite of infected mosquitoes. Most people exposed to the virus don’t get sick, butabout 20 percent develop symptoms like headache, fever, muscle and joint aches,nausea and fatigue. In a very small proportion, less than one percent, thevirus affects the nervous system, leading to a more serious illness that cancause neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and evendeath.

The Texas Department of StateHealth Services urges people to declare WAR on mosquitoes to protect themselvesand their families from West Nile and other diseases spread by mosquitoes.

  • WEAR long sleeves and pants. Create abarrier to mosquito bites by covering up.
  • APPLY insect repellent. UseEPA-registered repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin,IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus/p-menthane-diol.
  • REMOVE standing water. Dumping out waterthat accumulates in toys, tires, trash cans, buckets, clogged rain gutters and plant potswill deny mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs and reproduce.

People should also keep mosquitoesout of their homes by using air conditioning and making sure window and doorscreens are in good repair. DSHS urges people with West Nile symptoms tocontact their health care provider and mention any exposure to mosquitoes.

There were 146 cases of West Niledisease, including 11 deaths, in Texas last year. Over the last five years,Texas has had 1,305 cases and 57 deaths. Mosquitoes remain active in much ofTexas into November and December. 

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(News Media Contact: Chris Van Deusen, DSHS Director of Media Relations, 512-776-7719)