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Published On: Mon, Jul 30th, 2012

West Nile Update: North Texas cases skyrocketing, Mississippi reports first WNV death

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Photo/CDC

Just two weeks ago,  Dallas County Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson said in a press conference, “When you’re in the epicenter right now of the country, it’s imperative we step up our prevention efforts”- truer words have not been spoken.

The outbreak of West Nile Virus is skyrocketing in north Texas with nearly 200 cases reported from four counties.

Leading the case count is Dallas County registering 82 human cases of WNV as of Friday. Close behind is Tarrant County with 61 cases as of today.

Both Denton and Collin Counties also have significant numbers of human WNV cases.

Things have got so bad in Dallas County that the Dallas County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management filed a formal request for state assistance in battling the mosquito borne virus.

Nearby in Mississippi, health officials report 20 human WNV cases as of Friday, including the death of a Smith County resident.

Texas’ neighbor to the north, Oklahoma is also seeing a surge in WNV cases with eight new cases reported last week. This compares to only one case reported in the state in all of 2011.

First discovered in Uganda in 1937, West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation. West Nile virus was first detected in North America in 1999 in New York. Prior to that, it had only been found in Africa, Eastern Europe, and West Asia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection.

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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