Texas Health Officials Blame Complacency for Outbreak of West Nile Virus [VIDEO]
It’s been said, “the mosquitoes in Texas are the size chihuahuas” unlike the dog their bite is worse than their bark. Recently, Texas Tech researchers blamed complacency and apathy for the recent outbreak of West Nile virus in the United States. Several cases were reported right here in the Lone star State and nationwide there has been 66 fatalities related to West Nile. “The virus is here and it appears it may have mutated” says Steve Presley a disease researcher at the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
With over 1,500 cases of West Nile Virus and 66 deaths reported, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says “the recent West Nile Virus outbreak is the largest ever seen in the United States”. Presley says “complacency and apathy probably have played a role in the recent spike of recorded cases since interest in the now-endemic disease has tapered off after the initial nation-wide spread of the disease in 2002 and 2003″. Presley went on to say “It’s very concerning what’s going on in Dallas and Tarrant counties today, as a good comparison, Harris County in Houston, has seven cases reported to date. Fort Bend southwest of Houston has only two cases. Meanwhile Tarrant has 136 cases reported thus far, Dallas has 158 cases and Denton has 82. It’s a little pocket there in the big urban area Metroplex where it’s just running rampant.”
Presley says it’s very possible the virus may have mutated into a more virulent form, since more cases of neuro-invasive West Nile virus have been reported than the one that causes the flu-like symptoms. Researchers say the best way to decrease your chance of getting bitten is to follow some basic steps, get rid of standing water around your property, put on insect repellent and try to avoid being outdoors during high mosquito tide.
This video shares tips on how to avoid West Nile Virus mosquito bites.