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Denton County reports first human cases of West Nile, Chikungunya

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Denton County Health Department officials are reporting the first human cases of West Nile Virus and the first case of Chikungunya virus in a Denton County resident.

Two individuals, one each in Denton and Argyle, are the first human cases reported this year, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, which confirmed the cases.

“These reports of mosquito-borne diseases highlight and confirm our concerns-positive mosquito testing pools across the County have alerted us to the likelihood of human WNV cases, and we’re beginning to see those cases this week” said Juan Rodriguez, chief epidemiologist for the Denton County Health Department, in a news release.

ChikV, a shortened reference to Chikungunya, is an emerging disease transmitted by mosquitoes primarily in other countries. The first case in the county involves a Lewisville resident who has traveled to an area with a current ChikV outbreak, officials said. To date, all ChikV cases in Texas have been linked to international travel, according to the health department.

The most common symptoms are fever and severe joint pains, often in the hands and feet. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Symptoms usually begin 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and typically resolve within 7–10 days.  Some people may develop long-term joint pain.

A total of 39 mosquito traps have tested positive for West Nile including 29 in Highland Village, three in Lewisville, two in Denton County unincorporated areas, two in Flower Mound, two in Denton and one in Carrollton.

Area cities have been spraying neighborhoods where mosquito traps test positive for the West Nile virus. Rodriguez has said the later start to this year’s West Nile virus season bodes well for the area.

“Once again, we’re seeing mosquito-borne diseases being reported in our communities, and we urge people to think about bite prevention,” said Dr. Matt Richardson, director of the Denton County Health Department, in a news release. We can sometimes sound repetitive, but we need people to listen to the message that will protect them from WNV and ChikV: follow the 4D’s to keep yourself and your loved ones from getting sick. WNV and ChikV have no vaccine and no cure, so prevention is our most effective tool. And individuals need to partner with us and take responsibility for protecting themselves. “

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