Galveston County may have first West Nile virus case

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HOUSTON - A Dickinson man may be the first human case of West Nile virus in Galveston County, officials said Wednesday.

The man, only described as between 45 and 50 years old, showed "probable" symptoms of the disease and is being treated as a possible case, officials said.

In Houston, five new cases were reported this week, bringing the total in the city of Houston to 43 and Harris County to 16.

In a news release, the Galveston County Health District urged people to avoid mosquitoes and not to panic.

"To date there has been only one probable case of West Nile virus reported in the county; however, it is believed that many more cases go undiagnosed and unreported.  There is no evidence that West Nile virus can be spread from person to person or from animal to person," the release said.

Dallas has been hit the hardest with cases of West Nile virus. Dallas County has reported 296 cases. Thirteen of the patients died.

Protect Yourself From West Nile Virus

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile virus, which is spread through mosquito bites, can be fended off by emptying containers that may collect rainwater and sprinkler water. Also, use insect repellent, especially when going out in the evening.

To help eliminate mosquito-breeding sites and prevent mosquito-borne diseases, residents should do the following:

  • Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET. Children should use insect repellents that contain less than 10 percent DEET. Do not apply DEET on babies. Adults should use insect repellents that contain more than 10 percent DEET.
  • Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition.
  • Keep storm sewers clean to reduce mosquito breeding.
  • Sweep up lawn clippings, leaves and limbs from sidewalks, driveways, curbs and gutters.
  • Don't let lawn water or car-washing water enter the street.
  • Pick up litter and other debris from the yard and the street.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of the house.
  • Keep doors and windows closed.
  • Seal cracks and gaps in the house.
  • If mosquitoes are in the house, use flying insect spray, following label instructions.
  • Empty, remove or dispose of anything in the yard that can hold water: flower pot saucers, cans, toys, litter, rain barrels, plastic sheeting, etc.
  • Pet water bowls and birdbaths should be emptied and refilled at least twice a week.
  • Keep rain gutters on the house clean and properly draining.
  • Repair household water leaks and move air-conditioner drain hoses frequently.

West Nile Virus Symptoms In Humans

  • Flu-like illness, with moderate to high fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness or joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Possible seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Respiratory symptoms

West Nile Virus Symptoms In Animals

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

For more information about West Nile virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

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