As you may have heard West Nile Virus (WNV)
has settled into the West Texas landscape. Lubbock County has the highest human
WNV case rate per capita in Texas based on
Texas Department of Health WNV statistics.
This viral illness is foremost a disease of birds and secondarily mammals, but
humans can become accidental hosts and, if infected, a few may suffer serious to
fatal consequences. Despite the media excitement about this disease, it must be
remembered that humans are fairly resistant to this virus, and infected humans
rarely become sick enough to show any symptoms. To date, about 1 person in every
150 tested has developed severe symptoms of infection.
WNV is mainly transmitted by mosquitoes, and does not spread from person to
person. However, it may be transmitted by accidental wound contamination from
body fluids from infected birds, and less likely, mammals. Therefore, the most
effective control plan will strike at the weakest link in the chain of
transmission, the insect vector.
Protecting against WNV for most people
consists of preventing mosquito bites. This can be done in two ways:
the number of mosquitoes
sure windows and doors are "bug tight." Repair or replace damaged screens, and
don't prop windows and doors open. This is of particular importance in
student housing units that are not air conditioned.
insect repellent containing up to 35% DEET when going outside. Read and follow
label instructions. Take special care when using repellent on children.
mosquito-infested places or wear a long sleeved shirt, long pants, hat, and
repellent when going into areas like woods or wetlands.
indoors around dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most actively feeding.
Protect your neighborhood by eliminating standing water:
anything outdoors that holds water, e.g., tires, flower pots, planters, buckets,
plastic or metal covers, toys, and wading pools.
water in birdbaths, fountains, wading pools, animal troughs, etc. at least once
containers that can hold water, like cans, bottles, and buckets.
sure roof gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters in spring and autumn or
whenever they need it.
leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers.
this issue with neighbors, and encourage them to remove breeding sources on