Monday, September 01, 2014

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Williamson County announces first West Nile Virus death

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Health officials in Williamson County have announced the first West Nile Virus death of 2012.

According to Marcus Cooper with the Williamson County & Cities Health District, the female victim was in her 90s and was one of the six Williamson County residents diagnosed with the mosquito-borne illness.

Cooper says the more serious forms of the virus can resemble other serious conditions, including meningitis and encephalitis. Symptoms can include anything from headache, rash or stiff neck all the way up to coma or even death.

Dallas County has struggled with West Nile Virus this season, with more than 100 confirmed cases of the disease. County officials declared a state of emergency due to the spread of the disease and have approved the use of aerial spraying to curb the mosquito population.

At the beginning of August, Travis County announced the first death related to West Nile Virus since 2003.

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

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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