DADS Provider News, Alerts & Bulletins viewer
West Nile Virus is Cause for Concern
The Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) is issuing this alert to provide information to DADS providers concerning West Nile virus.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has documented a higher than usual number of human West Nile cases in Texas this year due to the warm winter and recent rains, particularly in the North Texas region.
Humans can contract the virus from the bite of a mosquito that is carrying the virus. West Nile virus can cause serious illness or death. West Nile neuroinvasive disease symptoms include stiff neck, visual problems, body tremors, mental confusion, memory loss and seizures. The milder form of the illness is West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and bone aches, nausea and drowsiness.
People with the milder form of illness typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. Up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms and will recover on their own.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection. People over 50 years old and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill when they become infected with the virus. If people have symptoms that cause them concern, they should contact their healthcare provider.
Reduce exposure to West Nile virus:
To help reduce exposure to West Nile virus, individuals should use an approved insect repellent, according to the label instructions, every time they go outside. Approved repellents are those that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
Environmental control activities include eliminating standing water, including water collected in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.
Remember the "Four D's" to defend against West Nile virus:
- DUSK and DAWN are the times of day to limit outdoor activities. This is when infected mosquitoes are most active.
- DRESS in long sleeves and pants when outside. For extra protection, thin clothing can be sprayed with repellent.
- DEET is an ingredient to look for in an insect repellent. Follow label instructions and always wear repellent when outdoors.
- DRAIN standing water in old tires, flowerpots, and clogged rain gutters. These are mosquito-breeding sites.
For more information on West Nile, visit: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/