North Texas Daily

Two new cases of West Nile and one new case of Zika in Denton

Two new cases of West Nile and one new case of Zika in Denton

Two new cases of West Nile and one new case of Zika in Denton
September 06
02:30 2016

Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer, but does not rule out the end of concern for the mosquito-borne viruses of West Nile and Zika. Last week, three more cases of these illnesses were reported in Denton County.

A Denton resident tested positive for Zika and the patient contracted the virus while traveling to Puerto Rico, according to the Denton County Health Department.

Two human cases of the West Nile Virus were reported in Denton County last week. This marks the eighth and ninth cases in Denton and leads to further provisions to ensure the safety of citizens. The city has continued to spray areas where officials have found West Nile positive mosquitoes.

For West Nile, Denton has been placed on Risk Level 4 since this summer and will remain there for the time being.

Though both viruses are transmitted though mosquito bites, the mosquitoes that carry each virus behave differently.

Mosquitoes carrying Zika stay close to the area where it was brought back, whereas the mosquitoes that carry West Nile are most common to North Texas.

“Briefly, we moved into Risk Level 4 based on the trigger of multiple mosquito traps separated in space and time testing positive for West Nile virus,” said Kenneth Banks, director of environmental services for the City of Denton. “We will remain at Risk Level 4 until the trigger condition of human cases occurs.”

Issued as a public health emergency, Risk Level 4 includes extensive epidemiological investigations, led by Juan Rodriguez, the chief epidemiologist at the Denton County Public Health Department.

“Individuals can help prevent mosquito bites by draining standing water around their homes [and] dressing appropriately,” said Rodriguez.

Not much information can be released regarding the two patients with West Nile, but one resident lives near Ponder, while the other is from Highland Village, according to the Denton County Public Health press release.

There has been no spread of the virus by mosquitoes and with the extra precautions city officials will be taking by spraying, will aide to lessen the effect of  Zika. Firefighters have been out, placing flyers on doorsteps about the spraying procedure and its benefits.

At the moment there is no reason to be concerned for students, but they should lessen the time they spend outside and cover up to minimize the possible contact with potential virus carrying mosquitoes, said Kerry Stanhope, assistant director of outreach at University of North Texas Student Health and Wellness Center

Signs of Zika and West Nile vary from mild to severe symptoms with almost little to no indication of Zika affects. West Nile has more stronger symptoms from swollen throat to paralysis.

“If a student experiences any symptoms of either [West Nile Virus or Zika], we strongly encourage them to seek treatment at the Student Health and Wellness Center or their own physician,” Stanhope said.

Pregnant women should take particular care to follow the precautions for preventing mosquito bites as well as those who have recently traveled or plan to travel across country.

City officials have outlined detailed information for residents on the best way to deal with such viruses and also has combined all their resources to ensure communication is clear.

The city of Denton, the Student Health and Wellness Center, and Denton County’s website lists precautionary measure to be taken for the safety of all residents. This includes in depth information about West Nile and Zika, the best way to avoid getting the virus and symptoms associated.

Featured Image: Biology Master’s Student Bethany Hambrick uses microscope to choose mosquitos to test West Nile Virus. File

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Sadia Saeed

Sadia Saeed

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