Human West Nile Virus Cases Discovered In Plano

Health officials in the city of Plano, Texas have reported two possible human cases of the West Nile Virus. The said cases were reported to have occurred in the Plano zip codes 75074 and 75075, within 5 miles of each other. The said human cases of the West Nile Virus were reported at the Collin Country Health Department by the doctors who were treating the patients.

The West Nile Virus has become big news lately since it arrived in North American shores sometime in 1999. There are two known types of the said virus which can cause differing symptoms. There is the West Nile fever and the neuroinvasive West Nile. It is known that around 80 percent of those who get the West Nile Virus from infected mosquitoes show any visible symptoms. The remaining 20 percent are usually diagnosed with the West Nile fever. The symptoms usually last for a few days to a few weeks. Its main symptoms are fever, headache and fatigue. Other symptoms also include skin rashes swollen lymph glands and eye pain, all of which only appear occasionally.

But the most dangerous version of the West Nile Virus is considered rare that only affects about 1 in every 150 people infected. The serious infection may develop into the West Nile encephalitis, West Nile meningitis or West Nile poliomyelitis. These diseases are most especially dangerous for the elderly and those with poor immune systems. Some of the main symptoms of the disease include high fever weakness, gastrointestinal problems, seizures as well as a distinct change in mental status. The most serious symptoms of the said disease include paralysis and coma.

The first human case of the West Nile Virus in the area was first discovered sometime in mid-June. Since then, health officials in the area and city workers are trying to reduce the mosquito population throughout the Plano area. According to Geoffrey Heinicke, the city’s environmental health manager, “Habitat reduction is the most effective method of keeping mosquitoes out of a person’s backyard. People need to get rid of standing water. We are also identifying other habitats that are conducive to mosquito breeding. We are getting into some of the creeks that have low flow and stagnant water and removing foliage and other things that are impeding the flow.”

As a means to curb down the mosquito population, the city has been using larvicide to kill mosquito larvae found in standing water in the surrounding areas. Mosquito sprays are being used to kill those adult or fully grown mosquitoes. Although it is considered as the most common means of killing mosquitoes, it is not particularly effective.

According to Heinicke, “For the spray to be effective we have to go out when the mosquitoes are the most active, which is late at night to early in the morning. The spray actually has to hit one of the mosquitoes. It doesn’t leave any sort of residual on plants or foliage, so if a mosquito lands it will not pick up any of the insecticide. It is minimally effective when we go out and spray.”

While the city workers are going all out to curb the succeeding incidence of the West Nile Virus, they urge people to play close attention to the symptoms they experience when bitten by mosquitoes. They should be familiar with the common West Nile Virus symptoms and go to a doctor immediately should some symptoms last for more than four days. It is safer to have it diagnosed for West Nile Virus rather than assuming that it is not. For those who live in the Plano area, the city has set up a West Nile Virus hotline which can be contacted at 972-941-7180 to help address any concerns and questions that residents in the area may have regarding the said disease.


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