Monday, July 7, 2014

First Case of West Nile in Texas Confirmed, 2014

The Texas Department of Health State Services has confirmed the first case of West Nile in Texas this 2014 summer, and its not too far down the road - Travis County (Austin area).

For the complete media release see:

Here's a quick recap of the article and some precautions you should take:

West Nile "Season" runs from June through October, so we are only in the beginning.  We had a large outbreak a couple of summers ago, so hopefully its fresh on your mind.  West Nile Virus is a virus transmitted by the bite of a mosquito.  I don't know about you, but I have had a heck of a summer dealing with mosquitoes.  I have multiple bites all over my arms and legs at all times, it seems!  So, I'm going to be more careful about being outdoors when mosquitoes are active, and wearing insect repellent when I am outdoors.

Tom Sidwa, State Public Health Veterinarian and manager of Zoonosis Control Branch says it best when he warns us that "The best way to protect yourself is by using insect repellent every time you go outside."

I know many people do not like using insect repellent for various reasons, but the three best options recommended by the EPA and CDC are DEET, Picaradin and Lemon of Oil Eucalyptus.  This is based on extensive research to supports its safety for use on human skin and length of time for repellency.  Remember that all repellents will wear off after a period of time and each individual is different.  Some formulations may need to be reapplied more often than others.

While we can't easily control adult mosquitoes, we can reduce breeding sites by dumping standing water often or using Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis.  We can also do what we can to prevent the bite, by wearing repellent!

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