Number of West Nile cases climbs in Angelina Co. - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Number of West Nile cases climbs in Angelina Co.

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ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) -

The number of confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Deep East Texas has climbed to five, with another case of West Nile Fever, all in Angelina County.

Friday, the Texas Department of State Health Services released an updated statewide count, which included 20 deaths.

455 human cases were reported in 48 Texas counties.

Dallas County is hardest-hit by human infection, with 10 deaths and 167 cases. Health officials are hoping to curb the mosquito population in the Dallas area with another round of aerial spraying of insecticide overnight. Thursday, the process was cut short due to rain, which dilutes the chemical.

 "We aren't seeing a whole lot of it in East Texas yet. It looks like most of it is in North Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth area but we do have a potential for it to come this way," said Kinnie Douglas, Health Educator.

Wednesday, when only 3 cases were reported in Angelina County, Health District Administrator Sharon Shaw said she expected multiple suspect cases to be confirmed. At the time, she said the number was not alarming.

With no vaccine and no treatment for West Nile, authorities say prevention is key.

"Wear bug repellant when you're outside, if it contains deet that's even better, when you're outside wear long sleeves and pants. Avoid having standing water outside, maybe in pet dishes or bird baths, change that often because that's where the mosquitoes will go, to that water," said Douglas.

Weekly spraying continues in both Lufkin and Nacogdoches. Parks departments in both cities are offering free mosquito spraying for residents inside city limits.

In Lufkin, residents wanting their neighborhood added to the list of spray zones should contact the city.

The City of Nacogdoches has mapped out incorporated areas into five sections, using insecticide sprayed from trucks.

Community parks and all Lufkin Independent School District campuses are being targeted for regular insecticide spraying.

The hot, dry weather has created ideal conditions for mosquitoes, which carry the virus.

"The best thing to do is avoid mosquito bites but most people, if you're a healthy person you may get the virus but you may not know it because your body will fight it off," said Douglas.

Copyright 2012 KTRE and the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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