• There has been a higher than usual number of human West Nile cases in Texas this year due to the warm winter and recent rains. We are urging people to take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne illness. Some of the most effective ways are to use insect repellent when outdoors, regardless of the length of time going to be spent outside, and avoid being outdoors from dusk to dawn when possible or if without repellent and appropriate clothing.

    Humans can get West Nile Virus from a bit from an infected mosquito and mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds or other mammals. The majority of the people get the milder form of the illness typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. Upt to 80% of the people infected with West Nile Virus will have no symptoms and will recover on their own. 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.

    There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile Virus infection. People over 50 years of age 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 and feel sick enough, they should contact their healthcare provider.

    To reduce exposure to West Nile Virus, remember the "Four D's":

    1)   Stay indorrs atDuskandDawn.This is the time of day that mosquitoes are most active
    2)   Dressin long sleeves/pants, loose and light-colored clothing when outdoors.
    3)   Defendyourself from mosquitoes by using an insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Follow label instructions
    4)   Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood. Also make sure that flower pots, water dishes, bird baths, and wading pools are properly drained so they are not breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

    It is also a good idea to use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering th home.