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Amarillo health experts sees cases of West Nile Virus, including 1 death

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 8:52 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - With mosquito season, comes the West Nile Virus and Amarillo health officials are reminding the community to be careful, as they are starting to see more cases.

The season typically starts in the Summer and continues into the Fall.

Dr. Sonja Swiger, an Extension Entomologist at Texas A&M says this rise in cases seems a little late.

“I guess your weather stayed warm so you’ll have an issue up until the freeze you know your first freeze the mosquitoes are definitely out there but it is a later in the year I think the peak season is usually September October so we start to see a fall in October into November I’m not 100 percent sure if this is later in the season than you would normally have up there but it seems like it may be because I said this for someone really had to talk I think in that area,” said Dr. Swiger.

West Nile Virus is commonly spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.

One Texas Tech Infectious Disease Specialist says he is seeing more people get the virus in a “severe fashion”.

Patients who have the virus may have mild symptoms such as, a fever or a headache or they could be asymptomatic.

“Most of the time, West Nile virus disease is not detectable, people get the disease they’re asymptomatic they don’t feel anything but usually speaking they have a fever don’t feel well less than 50 percent of the people have symptoms and sometimes the symptoms are severe enough where they get admitted to the hospital,” said Dr. Tarek Naguib, Texas Tech Physicians Infectious Disease Specialist.

While he says it is rare, death is a possibility with the virus and they did recently see one death due to the virus.

“The fact that the disease is severely life-threatening rarely is important because you lose one person is one too many,” said Dr. Naguib.

Experts say it is important to take precautions to stay protected against mosquitoes.

“It’s not a reason to have a public scare or worriness, but it is still an illness that’s there and when it goes bad, which is rarely it goes bad you could lose somebody,” said Dr. Naguib.

They say these mosquitoes are usually out in the evenings, so it is important to use repellents with Deed, wear long-sleeve clothing, stay away from brackish water or shrubs where there could be mosquito breeding sites.

Dr. Naguib says other diseases are carried by mosquitoes during the season as well such as, Zika or Chikungunya.

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