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Denton County gears up for fight against West Nile virus

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The Denton County Health Department is again coordinating planning efforts with Tarrant, Collin, and Dallas counties to make a collective impact on this year’s West Nile virus season.

The 2012 West Nile virus season was unexpected and took a significant toll on the health of citizens of the North Texas region. Ground and aerial spraying were used in areas of the region to reduce the mosquito population potentially carrying the virus. 

In 2013, North Texas health departments enhanced collaborations to prevent a potential recurrence.

As a result of the magnitude of the outbreak in 2012, the Denton County Health Department began trapping and testing mosquitoes in the unincorporated areas in 2013.

In 2014, new “case definitions,” also known as reporting requirements, will change how human West Nile virus cases are counted. These changes may lead to an increase in the number of reported human cases.            

“A major component of our unified approach will be the residents in each county,” said Denton County’s Health Director Dr. Bing Burton. “We need their help in eliminating and reducing mosquito breeding areas in and around their homes.”

All four counties will echo the prevention messages, which if followed, can help reduce human cases by reducing exposure to mosquitoes. Citizens can defend themselves against mosquitoes that may potentially carry the virus by remembering and following “The Ds”:

· DRESS to avoid mosquito bites by wearing long, loose and light-colored clothing when outside;

· DEFEND yourself by using insect repellents approved by the EPA or CDC; 

· DUSK to DAWN outside activities should be avoided when possible, and especially if one isn’t  dressed and prepared with repellent; and

· DRAIN all areas of standing water in and around the home, including wading pools, pet dishes and birdbaths. 

For more information on prevention of West Nile virus infection, please visit http://www.dentoncounty.com/wnv/

 

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