Montgomery County exams mosquitoes for West Nile virus after they die

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The District 3 mosquito control team is on high alert as it continues to test mosquito samples following the confirmation of a death related to the West Nile virus and the second possible Montgomery County case.

On Friday, the Montgomery County Public Health District announced the death in his 70s of a man who lived in zip code 77381. The man had other illnesses, but the death was classified as a likely case of the West Nile virus. A woman in her sixties who lives in zip code 77382 has been confirmed as a second case.

At this point in 2019, the county had no cases of West Nile virus, health officials said.

Cody Grimes, manager of projects and logistics at Precinct 3’s office, said the death announcement and the second case didn’t result in those zip codes being sprayed. Grimes stated that due to the time it took to get confirmation of the cases, the crews had already replied to these zip codes when the mosquito sample came back positive.

He noted that there are currently no West Nile positive samples in South County.

“We spray when we get positive mosquito samples,” said Grimes, adding that mosquito season is coming to an end. “There was nothing unusual this year.”

The West Nile virus can cause serious illness and is often transmitted by infected mosquitoes, according to MCPHD. People usually develop symptoms between three and 14 days after being bitten. According to the CDC, about 80 percent of people infected show no symptoms at all.

Mild symptoms include fever, headache, body pain, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or rash on the chest, abdomen, and back. These symptoms can last for up to several weeks. Serious symptoms that make up less than 1 percent of those infected can include a high fever, headache, stiff neck, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis. These symptoms can last for several weeks and neurological effects can be permanent.

Anyone who develops symptoms of severe West Nile Virus disease, such as an unusually severe headache or confusion, should see a doctor right away. However, the majority of milder diseases will improve on their own.

According to the CDC, the most effective way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Avoid bites by using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing outdoors, and draining standing water outside of your home.

cdominguez@hcnonline.com

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