Montgomery County confirms first human West Nile virus case of year

The Montgomery County Public Health District announced Thursday night the first probable case of human West Nile Virus in Montgomery County this year.
Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

After officials with Montgomery County Precinct 3 confirmed an uptick in mosquitoes samples testing positive for the West Nile virus earlier this month, the Montgomery County Public Health District announced Thursday night the first probable case of human West Nile Virus in the county this year.

According to information from MCPHD, the Porter woman in her 60s is stable and receiving treatment in a local hospital. In 2020, there were a total of five human West Nile virus cases.

This year, the Precinct 3 Mosquito Abatement Team has collected over 400 samples containing a combined 27,000 mosquitoes and tested them for mosquito-borne disease, the office reported. The team tests many of these samples in-house while sending the rest to the Texas Department of State Health Services. As of the first of August, 47 samples have tested positive for the West Nile virus within Montgomery County.

“Everyone who is able to do so should wear some kind of insect repellent when they go outside,” said Justin Fausek, director of Mosquito Abatement for Precinct 3 in a previous story. “It’s the most effective means of protection available as long as you follow the instructions on the label.”

When looking for an effective repellent, choose a product registered with the EPA in a concentration that is appropriate for the length of time spent outdoors. Other recommendations include wearing long, light, loose clothing; avoiding outdoor activity when the disease-carrying mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn; and eliminating standing water in and around the home.

West Nile virus can cause serious disease and is commonly spread by infected mosquitoes, according to MCPHD. People typically develop symptoms between three and 14 days after they are bitten. According to the CDC, approximately 80 percent of people who are infected will not show any symptoms at all.

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

Anyone who develops symptoms of severe West Nile virus illness, such as severe headaches or confusion, should seek medical attention immediately. However, the majority of milder illnesses improve on their own.

Written by Catherine Dominguez

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