Additional cases of West Nile Virus are being confirmed throughout Texas and health officials are increasing spraying operations aimed at killing infected mosquitoes.
So far, 465 cases in 42 counties have been reported, according to the Texas Department of State Health Service. Seventeen cases have resulted in death.
Iowa reported its first case of West Nile Virus for 2012 on July 30. So far there have been three human cases in the state, along with a pair of horses. Since the disease can also make horses sick, equine cases can be useful for showing where the virus is active.
West Nile Virus is a viral infection spread by bites from infected mosquitos, and has been a major health concern in the north Texas area the past month. Dallas County has been hardest hit in the region, and has begun spraying for mosquitoes.
Many people with the West Nile Virus may have no outward symptoms at all, said Emily Carroll, director of nursing at the Corsicana Health Department, although most common symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, headache, nausea and vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands.
In more severe cases, people usually need to go to the hospital where they can receive supportive treatment including intravenous fluids, help with breathing and nursing care.
Iowa saw nine human cases of the disease in 2011, including two patients who died from the infection. If the experience in other states is mirrored in Iowa, this year could be worse. The cases this year began earlier than in 2011.
Carroll said the state recommends the “four D’s” for combating mosquitos and the potential of the West Nile Virus.
“Basically it’s staying indoors from dusk until dawn, dressing in long sleeves and pants, using an insect repellent with DEET, and draining any standing water,” a prime breeding ground for mosquitos, Carroll said.