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Emergency declared in Dallas due to West Nile virus
08.17.2012Although outbreaks of the West Nile virus have flared up across the country this summer, almost half of the victims of the insect-borne infection have been residents of Texas. This situation is almost certainly well known to those who reside in the vicinity of Austin Immediate Care center in the Lone Star state.
To combat the epidemic, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has declared a state of emergency, and has ordered the first aerial pesticide spraying of the eighth most populated city in the U.S. since 1966, according to media reports.
As of August 14, some 200 cases of West Nile have been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Texas. The number of deaths is unclear, as the CDC reports 14, while the New York Times quotes Texas state officials saying 17 people have passed away. Whichever number is correct, it far surpasses the human cost West Nile has incurred in other states.
"With this huge outbreak in Texas, the jury is still out on what's going to happen with the rest of the country. In Chicago, we've already observed high numbers of West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes. This is looking like a large regional event. We don't know if the number of cases is going to drastically increase, but we do expect more cases," said the CDC's director of the Division of Vector-Borne Infections, Lyle Petersen, quoted by the New York Times.
West Nile virus symptoms vary from case to case
The CDC states that 693 cases have surfaced in 43 states since the start of 2012, making this the biggest year for the seasonal virus since it was first discovered in the U.S. in 1999. Though it is potentially fatal, 80 percent of individuals infected with West Nile appear totally unaffected, displaying no symptoms what so ever, according to the CDC. About 20 percent develop mild symptoms like fever, headache, body aches, nausea and vomiting. In rare cases, about one out of every 150, individuals will require emergency medicine. The most serious symptoms include neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis and possibly permanent brain damage.
Individuals trying to protect themselves from West Nile virus are advised by the CDC to wear insect repellent, long sleeves and pants, and stay indoors during night hours. In addition, it's wise to avoid letting water sit in containers such as flower pots, pet dishes, bird baths, buckets or barrels, as this could create potential mosquito breeding grounds.
Categories: Health and Wellness
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