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Mosquito.jpeg Infectious diseases expert offers advice to prevent West Nile Virus.

FORT WORTH— Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, which also ushers in mosquito season. The first mosquito positive for West Nile virus was confirmed in North Texas recently, prompting experts at Medical City Fort Worth to provide tips to help the community stay informed and safe from the potentially deadly Virus.

West Nile Virus is a severe mosquito-borne illness that peaks in the United States from mid-August to early September. The severity of the virus can vary, depending on a person's immune system and existing medical conditions.

 Most people infected with West Nile Virus might not show any symptoms. According to the National Library of Medicine’s National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 25% may develop a mild illness known as West Nile fever. In rare cases, the virus can cause severe neurological symptoms such as meningitis, weakness, paralysis and seizures.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain or muscle aches
  • Rash
  • Nausea or vomiting

“Most mild symptoms can be managed at home with rest and hydration,” says Anupama Chennupati, MD, an expert in infectious diseases at Medical City Fort Worth. “However, if you experience severe symptoms, including neurological issues, you should seek medical attention immediately at your nearest emergency room.”

Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms, as West Nile Virus has no specific antiviral treatment.

Dr. Chennupati suggests residents take the following precautions and practice the “Four D’s” to protect against West Nile:

  • Dusk/Dawn: Limit time outside during dusk to dawn, when mosquitos are most active
  • DEET: Use FDA-approved insect repellents that contain DEET
  • Dress: Wear long sleeves and pants to minimize skin exposure outside
  • Drain: Eliminate standing water around the home to reduce mosquito breeding sites

“By taking these simple precautions, you can significantly reduce your risk of infection and enjoy a safer summer,” says Dr. Chennupati.

Local authorities may also spray areas with mosquito-killing agents during outbreaks to control the mosquito population. Currently, no human vaccine is available for West Nile Virus.

To learn more about Medical City Fort Worth’s emergency care services, visit:

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