West Nile virus reappears as mosquito tests positive in Houston subdivision

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A painful and somewhat deadly mosquito-borne virus has resurfaced in a Houston suburb. West Nile virus has tested positive in a mosquito trapped at a new construction site in Sugar Land, just west of Houston.

And it’s just in time for a summer full of heat, humidity and looming hurricanes.

It also comes as the world tries to chase away the COVID-19 coronavirus that has hidden all of 2020 and most of 2021 so far.

The captured mosquito that tested positive was in the New Territory subdivision on Morrisons Place, according to KHOU, the CBS branch in the city of Bayou. Among the mosquitoes trapped, at least one has tested positive for West Nile virus so far.

A mosquito sample is examined by entomologist Ben Pagac, Jr. at the US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine-North in Fort Meade on August 29, 2002, Md. The center tests mosquitoes for West Nile virus.
Photo by STEPHEN JAFFE / AFP via Getty Images

Sugar Land health officials urge residents and visitors to take precautions to reduce their risk of infection, including the use of insect repellant outdoors, as well as to avoid going outside. outdoors at sunrise and sunset. They also have recommendations for people over 50 and those with weakened immune systems.

“Residents should use insect repellant whenever they are outside and avoid going outside at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active,” said Dr Joe Anzaldua, medical director and health authority of Sugar Land. “People over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they are infected with the virus. If people have symptoms of concern, they should contact their provider immediately. health care.”

Eliminating standing water around your home is another method of preventing mosquitoes from taking over your home.

Most people who have been infected with West Nile are unlikely to see any recurring symptoms, which can include a high fever, stiff neck, excruciating headaches, tremors, muscle weakness, vision loss. , numbness, stupor, disorientation and paralysis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There are four “D’s” to follow in combating West Nile, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services:

  • Use DEET insect repellent picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants and cover your head outside
  • Drain standing water where mosquitoes breed
  • Dusk and dawn: stay indoors during times when mosquitoes are active

Is West Nile virus deadly? The CDC says people die from the virus every year, even though only 20% of people show symptoms.

“This just serves as a reminder of the importance of personal protection and prevention of these mosquito populations,” said Chris Fredregill, director of the Harris County Public Health Mosquito and Vector Control Division.

As for Sugar Land, Texas, its city authorities are helping it start spraying mosquitoes twice a week.

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