GCHD confirms first human West Nile virus case of 2018

Post Date:07/17/2018 9:04 AM

The Galveston County Health District (GCHD) has confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) of 2018 in Galveston County.

The female patient, ranging in age from 20-29, is a resident of Galveston Island. She received treatment for West Nile Fever and has recovered. To protect medical privacy, no other information about the patient will be made available.

GCHD has notified Galveston County Mosquito Control of the confirmed case of mosquito-borne illness so that the agency may factor that into its surveillance and spraying efforts, if needed. The most recent cases of human WNV in Galveston County were six confirmed cases in 2016.

“Whether it’s West Nile, Zika, chikungunya or other diseases, you need to protect yourself from mosquito bites,” said GCHD CEO Kathy Barroso. “We encourage you to use insect repellant when outdoors and to do your part to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by emptying all standing water around your home or business.”

Be sure to remember the 3-D’s: Defend – wear EPA-approved insect repellent with DEET in it; Dress – dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors; and Drain – drain standing water around homes and businesses so that mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed.

Most people infected with WNV do not have symptoms. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms including headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with WNV recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

About one out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness like encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). Symptoms can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis.

Serious illness can occur in people of any age, but those 60 years or older are at the greatest risk for severe disease, as are people with certain medical conditions including cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and organ transplant recipients.

“Anyone who experiences symptoms – regardless of age – should contact their health care provider,” Barroso said.

For more information on WNV, visit www.cdc.gov/westnile.

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