Tips to protect yourself against West Nile virus

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HOUSTON - With the first case of West Nile virus confirmed in Texas last Friday, state health officials are urging people to protect themselves against the mosquito-bourne illness.

More than 36,000 cases of West Nile and 1,500 deaths were reported to the CDC during 1999-2012.

What are the symptoms of West Nile virus?

The CDC says the milder symptoms include fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Officials say 80 percent of those infected will not have symptoms.

Adults over the age of 50 and children are at a higher risk, because of their weaker immune systems, but the Houston Department of Health and Human Services says the virus can affect everyone.

The Texas Department of State Health Services provided these four habits to practice to protect you from the disease:

•    Always use insect repellent that contains DEET.

•    Regularly drain stagnant water.

•    Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk.

•    Keep mosquitoes out of your home.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there were 5,674 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in the U.S. in 2012. Texas accounted for nearly one third of the cases with 1,868.

Additional links about West Nile virus:

-City of Houston

-Texas Department of State Health Services

-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

-U.S. Geological Survey

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