The Denton County Health Department has confirmed its second West Nile virus-associated death for 2012.
The patient was in her 80’s, had underlying health conditions, and resided in the city of Carrollton. Due to patient confidentiality, no further information was released.
West Nile virus is a potentially serious virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Less than 1% of those infected with West Nile virus will experience the serious form of the illness (West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease), health officials said.
Serious symptoms include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors or convulsions, vision loss, muscle weakness, and numbness or paralysis. Residents experiencing any of these symptoms should immediately contact their health care provider.
The elderly and individuals with underlying medical conditions are known to be at an increased risk. The majority of serious WNV infections and deaths occur in persons over the age of 50.
Around 20% of those bitten by a West Nile virus-carrying mosquito may experience mild symptoms (West Nile fever), such as fever, headache, nausea, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and skin rash. Approximately 80% of those bitten by an infected mosquito will not experience any symptoms, health officials said.
Residents should take the proper precautions to reduce their risk of getting Nile virus by remembering the four D’s:
Drain standing water around their homes to reduce mosquito breeding grounds. Consider use of BTI briquettes (or mosquito dunks) in water that cannot be drained, such as small ponds and drinking troughs.
Stay indoors at Dusk and Dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) to exposed skin and to clothing when outdoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends Picaridin (KBR 3023).
Dress in pants and long sleeves when outside, but avoid becoming too hot.
Many Denton County municipalities are utilizing ground spraying efforts to help to control the mosquito population that is the vector responsible for this disease. A West Nile Virus Health Emergency has been declared by County Judge Mary Horn, and additional State resources have been requested to provide aerial spraying on Aug. 30-31. Denton County municipalities are determining whether or not to be included in the aerial spray operation.
Visit the DCHD West Nile virus website (www.dentoncounty.com/heart/wnv), or call the West Nile virus hotline (940-349-2907) for more details about symptoms, prevention tips, county-wide contacts, reducing mosquitoes around your home, and disease statistics.