Dallas County Health and Human Services has recorded seven human cases of West Nile virus this year, more than doubling the number of cases reported in 2022.

Of the seven patients, six were diagnosed with West Nile neuroinvasive disease, a severe case of the virus that attacks the brain, spokesperson Christian Grisales said.

Here are where the cases were reported:
  • 75212, which includes west Dallas
  • 75231, which includes Vickery Meadow and part of Lake Highlands
  • 75204, which includes Uptown and Old East Dallas
  • 75228, which includes Casa View and White Rock Hills
  • 75248, which includes far north Dallas
  • 75230, which includes north Dallas
  • 75206, which includes Lower Greenville
Some context

In 2022, DCHHS reported three human cases of West Nile Virus and one death, according to the agency’s website.

Grisales said the higher case count this year could be attributed to a number of factors, but it’s “pretty hard” to say definitively. Possible reasons include a higher number of people enjoying outdoor activities and a lower number of people using bug repellent.

What you need to know

West Nile virus is most commonly spread to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes, which get the virus by feeding on infected birds. In some cases, the virus can spread through exposure in a laboratory setting, blood transfusion or organ transplant, or from mother to infant during pregnancy, birth or breast feeding, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Only about 1 in 5 people infected with the virus develops symptoms, which can include a fever, a headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and/or a rash. Most patients recover completely but can experience fatigue and weakness for months, according to the CDC.

Cases of West Nile virus occur during the summer and fall, when mosquitoes are most prevalent, according to the CDC. No preventive vaccine or medication treatment is available for West Nile virus. However, r​est, fluids and over-the-counter pain medicines can relieve some symptoms. People who think they may have the virus should consult a health provider.

This year in Lake Highlands and Lakewood, mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus in the ZIP codes 75214, 75231, 75238 and 75243. For a full list of Dallas County ZIP codes with mosquitoes that have tested positive, visit the county’s Health and Human Services website.

What the experts say

“We advise the community to take every measure available to prevent mosquito bites, and that starts with following the four D’s,” Grisales said.

These are the four D’s residents are encouraged to follow to avoid contracting the virus:
  • DEET: When outside, use insect repellents that contain the chemical DEET or other Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents.
  • Dress: Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing when outdoors.
  • Drain: Drain or treat all standing water in and around your home or workplace where mosquitoes could lay eggs.
  • Dawn and dusk: Limit outdoor time during these times when mosquitoes are most active.