Is West Nile still a threat? - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Is West Nile still a threat?

TX West NIle Virus cases by week TX West NIle Virus cases by week
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

An East Texas boy with West Nile meningitis remains in a coma, surprising many who thought the virus was no longer a threat.

Experts say, while we have had some cool weather, it has not been cold enough in East Texas to kill every mosquito carrying West Nile virus.

This graph from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows the number of West Nile cases in Texas by week, starting in June and ending in September. 

The number of cases spiked in August and has continued to fall ever since.

It can take up to 14 days for someone with West Nile to start having symptoms. Wade Gamblin's family thinks he got the virus a few weeks ago on a camping trip in Frankston.

Aside from organ transplants, everyone gets West Nile the same way, from a mosquito bite. Still, experts say there is a lot to learn about the virus.

"We don't know why some people develop meningitis or a polio like syndrome and others don't. There's a lot of research ongoing with regards to what the risk factors are, apart from age. The likelihood of getting bit by an infected mosquito is much smaller than it was in July or August but it's not zero," says infectious disease specialist Dr. Ed Dominguez.

As of Monday, November 14 there were 21 cases of West Nile in Smith County.

State health officials say you should still protect yourself from mosquito bites by using repellant with DEET, wearing long sleeves and pants and draining any standing water. 

For more information on West Nile, click on our West Nile Watch page.

Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved.

 


 

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ETX boy currently in a coma, battling West Nile meningitis

 

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