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Local West Nile cases raise concerns

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TWC News: Local West Nile cases raise concerns
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Heavy lifting is part of the job for landscaper Holman Green, but more recently, it also includes fighting off mosquitoes.

The recent uptick in West Nile cases nationally, statewide, and even here in Central Texas, has many people worried about even going outside.

Experts say West Nile Virus cases could continue to develop through mid-October. Officials with Texas Department of State Health Services report nearly 500 cases so far this year.

That's already more than the previous record for West Nile cases in an entire season.

"There are a lot of mosquitoes in this area,” Green said. "I just got bit today like 20 times.”

Walker Hale is an entomologist with ABC Home and Commercial Services. He says this season is unlike any he's seen in years.

"It's more temperature dependent, so you do see increased activity when you have rain events closer to late spring and summer," he said. "The Southern House Mosquito is the mosquito of most ill repute when it comes to West Nile virus."

Hale explains when they're young the Southern House mosquito feeds on birds that carry West Nile. Then, as adults, they turn to humans for food. The bulk of his calls are coming from neighborhoods along greenbelts and creeks.

Green says, at least for him, the risk is not worth the worry.

"I wouldn't want to wear long sleeves and pants because it's hot anyway. I'd rather feel comfortable, but mosquitoes bite a lot," Green said.

Hale says something as simple as a fan can keep mosquitoes away since they're poor flyers, and keep in mind, very young children and older adults with pre-existing conditions are considered most at risk.

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