Thus far in 2012, a total of 1118 nationwide cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 41 deaths, have been reported to the Center for Disease Control. Of these, 629 (56%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease
(such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 489 (44%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.
The number of cases reported in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in August since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999. Approximately 75 percent of the cases have been reported from five states (Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma) and almost half of all cases have been reported from Texas.
Confirmed totals of Texas infections have reached 783 with 31 of those fatal. There have been eight confirmed West Nile cases in the San Antonio area, two of which have been fatal. The hardest hit areas in Texas can be found in and around Dallas with more than two-thirds of the state’s cases occurring in that area.
The City of Pleasanton has sprayed for mosquitoes three times during the last three weeks with the most recent spray occurring Tuesday night. The city has plans for several more before the heavy mosquito season comes to an end. Before the city can spray they must consider factors like the wind speed. The city is working hard to clean out areas that may breed mosquitoes. The city is also dispensing tablets in stagnant water areas through town to combat mosquito larvae. “We are very fortunate to have the experience of Parks Superintendent Joe Bosquez,” said Pearson. “The city has been asked to help some of its sister cities such as Floresville, Campbellton and Charlotte. It’s the right thing to do,” said Pearson. To find out if your city will be spraying for mosquitoes, please call your City Hall for further information.
The Texas Department of State Health Services says that prevention is the best way to reduce the risk of infection. There is no vaccine. They urge everyone to remember the “Four Ds” – DEET, Dress, Dusk and Dawn and Drain.
1.Apply insect repellent that contains DEET (N, N-diethyl m-toluamide), picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Spray exposed skin and clothing with repellent. Another option is to use permethrin, which should be applied only to clothing. Be sure to read label instructions on any repellent.
2.Dress in long sleeves and long pants when you are outside.
3.Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, times when infected mosquitoes are most active.
4.Drain standing water in your backyard and neighborhood; old tires, flowerpots, and clogged rain gutters are mosquito-breeding sites.
Serious symptoms of West Nile occur in about one in 150 people infected. These symptons which may last several weeks may include flu-like symptoms, vision loss, paralysis and permanent neurological effects. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected may experience milder flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph glands and skin rashes with no permanent conditions lasting for as short as a few days. Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all. (Symptom information provided by CDC Division of Vector Borne Disease, “Fight the Bite”, website at http:// www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/ westnile/index.htm.
Older victims and those with weaker immune systems are more likely to become seriously ill if infected.