The Orange County Mosquito Control District was notified by the Texas Department of State Health Services that the first human case of West Nile Fever in Orange County for 2012 has been confirmed. The case occurred around Aug. 1, 2012 according to the DSHS report. The general area in which the individual resides is East of Hwy 105 and South of IH-10 in the Vidor area. Earlier this month, a mosquito collection tested positive for WNV just north of this area. The report indicated that the individual did not practice the use of repellants. The number of WN illnesses reported in Texas for 2012 are 586.

Spray treatments have been increased in the area where the viral activity has been reported. The Mosquito Control District will continue mosquito surveillance in the area to determine whether or not viral activity still exists.

Residents need to protect themselves by taking personal protective measures like avoiding outdoor activity, if possible, when mosquito activity is on the rise, use insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin when mosquito activity is present. Always read and follow label directions when using repellents.

Reduce the risk of getting the mosquito-borne West Nile virus by remembering the following:

Drain standing water from around your home. Empty cans, buckets, tires, rain gutters, tree holes and saucers placed under potted plants regularly. Change water in pet bowls, birdbaths and wading pools several times a week.

Dress in pants and long sleeves when outside in mosquito-infested areas, but avoid becoming overheated.

Limit the amount of time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when those mosquitoes likely to carry infections are most active.

Keep mosquitoes out of your house by making sure that window and door screens are in good condition.

Not every mosquito bite causes illness. Very few mosquitoes carry the virus, and less than one percent of bites from mosquitoes that do have the virus actually cause serious illness. But West Nile virus is in Texas, and it’s a good idea to reduce the low risk even further by eliminating mosquito hatching grounds and by minimizing exposure to mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes get the virus when they bite infected birds. People and animals get West Nile virus from the bite of an infected mosquito, not from other people, animals or birds.

Although, one percent or less of humans who are bitten by an infected mosquito will become significantly sick or show signs or symptoms anyone can become infected with West Nile virus. Individuals age 50 and above are at greater risk, especially those whom have medical problems or weakened immune systems.

This group can develop the more serious forms of the illness including encephalitis and meningitis. Symptoms of West Nile virus appear from 3 to 14 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito.

West Nile virus infections usually are mild with flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue. Symptoms of more severe West Nile infections are headache, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, coma and paralysis. If you have these symptoms, contact your health care provider right away.