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First human West Nile case this year confirmed in Denton County

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The Denton County Health Department (DCHD) confirmed Thursday the first human case of West Nile virus for 2013 in the county.

The patient is in his 40s, resides in the City of Denton, and has West Nile fever, the milder form of the illness.

The man had no underlying medical conditions, according to the health department.

Residents are strongly encouraged to take precautions to reduce their risk of getting the 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 livestock 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), or another EPA-recommended product, to exposed skin and to clothing when outdoors. Other EPA-approved repellents include picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Dress in pants and long sleeves when outside, but avoid becoming too hot.

Additionally, residents should keep weeds, tall grass, and bushes trimmed, since these are prime resting grounds for mosquitoes.

Chief Epidemiologist Juan Rodriguez stresses that residents can play a large role in reducing their risk.

“It is important for residents to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites by minimizing outdoor exposure during peak mosquito activity, dressing appropriately and using DEET or other EPA-approved repellents,”  said Rodriguez.

DCHD has partnered with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) West Nile Task Force to provide free education throughout Denton County. If you are interested in West Nile education for your group or organization this summer, contact RSVP at 940-383-1508.

DCHD has updated information for residents on its West Nile Virus website, including tips for reducing mosquitoes around the home, frequently asked questions, and printable flyers and posters. The website is dentoncounty.com/WNV.

West Nile virus first appeared in Denton County in 2002. There were 184 human cases, including 2 deaths, reported to health officials in the 2012 season.

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