West Nile Virus

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Mosquitoes in Texas are a problem. There's no arguing that. There is, however, a lot of misinformation out about the West Nile Virus and the risks associated for our residents. The City of La Porte sprays throughout the City when mosquito trap counts reach a certain level, And while Harris County has had only one confirmed case of West Nile Virus affecting humans this year, taking precaution is always recommended! Here's the info you need to protect you and your family.
Up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms. However, some infections can result in serious illness or death. People over 50 years of age and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they become infected with the virus. With that said, we want you to know that fewer than 1% of people bitten by mosquitoes come down with severe symptoms. It is a rare occurrence that WNV presents itself in people. As of May 21st, 2015 Harris County has seen only one confirmed case of WNV in people. While the risk is still prevalent, especially with all of the recent rain, it is nothing to be overly alarmed about. Taking good precautionary measures, protecting your family, and staying informed are your best defense!
West Nile Activity In Harris County  - Previous 5 Years
Eliminate the breeding sites!! Mosquitoes only need a bottle cap of water to breed. Getting rid of mosquito breeding sites is the most efficient way to get rid of mosquitoes, but it cannot be done without community involvement. Because many types of mosquitoes do not travel far from where they hatch, YOU can have a dramatic impact on local mosquito populations by following the prevention measures below.    • Clean up standing water on residential property    • Get rid of unnecessary debris on residential and commercial property, such as old tires    • Empty water from toys, buckets, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, and any other areas      twice per week where water may be collecting    • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling bins, swing tires and other outside containers    • Clean out rain gutters and make sure they drain properly    • Turn garbage can covers right side up •  Avoid bug zappers in your yard as they can actually attract mosquitos
What You Can Do
Avoid The Bite
• Of the products registered with the EPA, those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection • Ensure that window and door screening is properly maintained • Wear light colors, as they are less attractive to mosquitoes • Set up large fans for home barbeques or other outdoor gatherings • Use citronella candles or yellow outdoor light bulbs to repel mosquitoes • Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito-eating fish, like Gambusia holbrooki • Set up carbon dioxide traps, which attract mosquitoes • Spray your home and treat your clothes with a Permethrin solution
Most people infected with West Nile virus will not have any signs of illness. Twenty percent of people who become infected will have mild symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands. The symptoms of severe infection (West Nile neuroinvasive disease) include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Only about one out of 150 people infected with West Nile virus will develop this more severe form of the disease. The incubation period of West Nile virus in humans is three to 14 days. Symptoms of mild disease may last a few days. Symptoms of severe disease may last several weeks, although neurological effects may be permanent. Rarely, death can occur.
What are the symptoms?
If you think you are experiencing symptoms, immediately consult with a doctor.
What about my pets?
Can dogs, cats and other pets get West Nile virus? The answer is yes. But they rarely, if ever, get sick. No cases of West Nile disease have been confirmed in dogs and cats. The virus can infect many species of animals, but few actually get the disease. Most infections have been identified in birds, but West Nile virus has been shown to infect dogs, cats, horses, and domestic rabbits, as well as bats, chipmunks, skunks, and squirrels.
In Conclusion:
Know the facts, use precautions, eliminate the breeding grounds, & protect your family. Make sure that your elderly family members and neighbors have help reducing the mosquito population around their home.Use common sense and always air on the side of caution when it comes to diagnosing symptoms that resemble that of West Nile Virus. It is always better to be safe than sorry and catching anything early is your best bet. The City of La Porte will continue to spray each zone of the City on a routine basis when the counts are above the limit but we need your help on your property to reduce the breeding grounds. Let's beat these "suckers" together!