Health Department
A Message from Your Local Environmental Health Department For answers to frequently asked questions regarding the mosquito transmitted West Nile Virus, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website at www.texaswestnile.org. The website provides information and updates on the West Nile Virus in both English and Spanish. Or if preferred, citizens may receive information and updates on the virus, in english and spanish, by calling the Texas Department of State Health Services toll free number at 1-888-883-9997. Recently we have heard and read more and more about the threat of the mosquito transmitted West Nile Virus (WNV). The virus, which may cause encephalitis, was first detected in the United States in 1999 with 62 human cases and 7 deaths in New York. It is being introduced into other states and counties by way of migratory birds.  Anyone finding a dead bird(s), PARTICULARLY CROWS AND JAYS, should contact the zoonosis division of the Texas Department of State Health Services at (956) 423-0130 or they can contact the Environmental Health Department at (956) 216-5220 Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8:00 & 5:00.  As an additional note; it is important to understand that at this time there is no evidence indicating that the virus can be transmitted from person to person or from physical contact with an infected animal. The following are precautions citizens can take to reduce the likelihood of contracting any mosquito transmitted disease(s):
  • The most effective method of reducing the mosquito population is to limit the number of places available for mosquito to lay their eggs by eliminating standing water sources around the home or office.
  • Mow tall grass and weeds around your home or office.
  • Remove any and all junk and debris from the property which could create a breeding site for the pests.
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET when you are outdoors.
  • When possible wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Apply repellent to clothing.
  • If possible consider staying indoors from dawn to dusk.
The Health Department continuously monitors information regarding all mosquito transmitted diseases in order to properly address potential concerns. Most West Nile Virus infected humans have no symptoms of the disease. A small portion develop mild symptoms that include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Less than 1% of infected people develop more severe illness that includes meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord) or encephalitis. The symptoms of these illnesses can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. Of the few people that develop encephalitis, a small portion die but, overall, this is estimated to occur in less that 1 out of 1000 infections. Should you develop any of the symptoms indicating severe illness, consult with your doctor to determine the nature of the symptoms.

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