The Bell County Public Health District has reported 10 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in the county. One case resulted in death. Likewise, there are multiple cases and several deaths statewide. Humans can contract West Nile virus from a mosquito bite. Infected mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds and mammals. The virus can cause serious illness or death. West Nile neuroinvasive disease symptoms include stiff neck, visual problems, body tremors, mental confusion, memory loss and seizures. The milder form of the illness is West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and bone aches, nausea and drowsiness. People with the milder form of illness typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. If you have symptoms that cause you concern, you should contact your healthcare provider.
To reduce exposure to West Nile virus:
1. Use an approved insect repellant every time you go outside and follow the instructions on the label. Approved repellants are those containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
2. Regularly drain standing water, including water collected in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.
3. Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
4. Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
For more information on West Nile Virus, visit