>Montgomery County, Texas – The Montgomery County Public Health District confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus of the 2021 season in a late afternoon announcement on Thursday, August 26. A second case is pending; however, the victim has passed away and the cause of death has not yet been confirmed. The first patient was still hospitalized as of the announcement.
The Mosquito Abatement Team of Montgomery County Precinct 3 regularly monitors the local mosquito populations for West Nile virus and has collected 79 positive samples this season. In response to these samples the team has conducted over 130 treatment missions and has already treated over 25,000 acres in and around Precinct 3.
Even with treatment missions, residents are advised to take personal protective measures to limit the risk of contracting West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. These measures include using insect repellants, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and avoiding outdoor activities when the mosquitos are most active.
The southern house mosquito is the primary vector of West Nile virus in the Houston area. This species prefers to breed in stagnant water with a high concentration of decaying organic matter and is most active from just before sunset until just after sunrise. Residents are encouraged to eliminate stagnant water around their homes and neighborhoods to prevent mosquito activity.
Most people who become infected with the West Nile virus show no symptoms and suffer no ill effects. Approximately 20 percent of those infected develop a fever and other flu-like symptoms and a small number of people develop a more severe illness. People over the age of 60 and those with certain medical conditions are more susceptible to having severe reactions.
Milder symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and in some cases 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% of those infected can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis. These symptoms can last for several weeks and can lead to permanent neurological effects.
If you develop severe symptoms associated with the West Nile virus such as unusually severe headaches or confusion, seek medical attention immediately. The majority of milder cases improve on their own.