A couple weeks back, the City of Lubbock warned us of the likelihood of mosquito-borne illnesses. And it's now known that West Nile virus has made it to Lubbock this season.

High rainfall amounts, while a blessing in many ways, also created standing water, and therefore a surplus population of mosquitoes.

West Nile virus is not usually a big deal, unless the person who catches it is immuno-compromised. Some 80 percent of people who catch West Nile experience no symptoms; however, some folks have very terrifying symptoms, like coma, stupor and paralysis.

If you suspect you have symptoms of West Nile Virus and were recently bitten by mosquitoes, i encourage you to go to the doctor as quickly as possible.

Here is the City of Lubbock's press release in full:

The City of Lubbock Health Department has confirmed West Nile Virus (WNV) in Lubbock for 2017. Public health surveillance activities have identified the first locally acquired human case and laboratory tests have confirmed WNV in mosquitos. WNV is a disease of birds. Humans are exposed to the virus when they are bitten by mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds. The infected mosquitoes become the link (vector) that spreads the disease from birds to humans through a mosquito bite. WNV cannot be spread person-to-person.

Symptoms of West Nile virus include headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. People with West Nile fever typically recover on their own. There is a more serious form of the illness, West Nile Neuroinvasive disease, which may have additional symptoms of neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. Up to 80 percent of people infected with the virus will have no symptoms.

There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection. People over 50 years old and those with other health issues are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill. If people have symptoms and suspect West Nile virus infection, they should contact their healthcare provider.

While we are near the end of mosquito season it is important for individuals to continue to take steps to avoid mosquito bites. These include:

  • Wearing an EPA registered insect repellent
  • Covering up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Keeping mosquitoes out of living areas by using air conditioning or intact window screens
  • Limiting outdoor activities during peak mosquito times
  • Dumping standing water around your home

For more information on West Nile virus visit the CDC website at: cdc.gov/westnile


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