Dallas, Texas – The Dallas County Health and Human Services Department (DCHHS) solemnly confirmed Monday’s unsettling development — the season’s inaugural human case of West Nile virus (WNV) — giving a stern reminder of the seasonal affliction’s potential hazards.
First West Nile Virus case of the year in Dallas is a male resident and has developed severe symptoms
The patient, a male Dallas resident, was diagnosed with West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND), an exceptionally severe manifestation of the illness.
WNND exhibits a series of alarmingly intense symptoms. Patients could experience everything from neck rigidity to disorientation, varying degrees of stupor, and even a lapse into a coma. Additional symptoms might involve tremors, convulsions, muscular debility, and paralysis. The potential lethality of the neuroinvasive disease iteration cannot be overstated.
The DCHHS, in observance of strict confidentiality and privacy protocols, has refrained from releasing any personal details pertaining to the patient.
“We are reporting the first human case of West Nile virus of the 2023 season. WNV is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito, and people should be careful when going out outside to enjoy outdoor activities,” said Dr. Philip Huang, DCHHS Director. “Please follow the 4 Ds to do everything you can to avoid mosquito bites.”
There have been several West Nile Virus mosquito cases in North Texas recently
Across North Texas, numerous municipalities have detected the presence of the West Nile virus in their local mosquito populations this season. Earlier this month, Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed that a mosquito pool tested positive for West Nile virus. In late June, the city of McKinney decided to spray some areas of the city after a mosquito pool also tested positive on West Nile Virus. In two occasions in May and June, the city of Arlington also conducted ground spraying after mosquito pools tested positive on the West Nile Virus.
To protect against mosquito bites, experts recommend wearing long sleeves and pants outdoors, with the addition of repellent on thin clothing for extra protection. Insect repellents containing DEET are also encouraged. Another significant preventive measure includes draining any standing water in one’s yard or neighborhood, as mosquitoes can breed in any stagnant water that persists for more than three days.
While dusk and dawn — part of the ‘4 Ds’ strategy — are prime active periods for mosquitoes known to carry West Nile virus, other mosquito species that are potential carriers of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya tend to be more active during daytime. Therefore, regardless of the time of day, it’s crucial to adapt your attire and apply insect repellent for optimal protection against mosquito bites.
It’s critical to note that currently, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for the West Nile virus. More information regarding this virus can be found at the provided link.