Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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Travis County resident dies of West Nile Virus

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TWC News: Travis County resident dies of West Nile Virus
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YNN's Dan Robertson shows us why the virus is spreading and what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

A Travis County resident died after contracting the West Nile Virus.

Austin Travis County Health officials confirmed the resident died of a more serious form of the illness known as West Nile Neuroinvasive disease.

Officials say there are three active cases of West Nile Virus in Austin and six cases in Waco, bringing the total to 11 cases in McLennan County.

Health officials say a mild winter and a wet spring has caused an explosion in mosquito population statewide.

"It's more mosquitoes than we have had, significantly more, than we have had in the last few years because of the drought," City of Austin Sanitarian Eda Gowdy said.

In north Texas and the Dallas area, more than a hundred confirmed cases and five deaths.

“We are concerned that this is an active mosquito-breeding season and that mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus throughout the community,” Medical Director for Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department Dr. Philip Huang said.

Health officials urge people to avoid mosquitoes -- especially people over the age of 50 or with underlying medical conditions.

Travis County officials say it’s the first West Nile death since 2003. Earlier last month, an 80-year-old McLennan County woman died early this month after contracting the virus.

According to officials, 80 percent of people infected with West Nile show no symptoms. To learn more about mosquito prevention, click here.

Officials warn to follow the four D’s to protect against mosquitoes:

  • Dusk and Dawn- Stay indoors during dusk and dawn. That’s the time when mosquitoes likely to carry the infection are most active.
  • Dress: Wear pants and long sleeves when you are outside, especially in mosquito-infested areas.
  • DEET: Apply insect repellent that contains DEET. Read and follow label instructions. Spray both exposed skin and clothing with repellent.
    Drain: Get rid of standing water in your yard and neighborhood. Old tires, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters leaky pipes and faucets, birdbaths and wading pools can be breeding sites for mosquitoes.
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