A case of West Nile virus originating in Montgomery County is under investigation, according to a June 25 news release from Montgomery County Precinct 3.

The first positive case of the season was detected in a woman in her 50s at an emergency room and is pending approval by the Department of State Health Services, the release states. The patient lives in the 77304 ZIP code, according to the release.

The background

West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes, resulting in symptoms that can appear from three to 14 days after being bitten, according to the release.

Symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Skin rash on the chest, stomach and back
More severe symptoms can occur in less than 1% of those infected, including:
  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Tremors, seizures or paralysis
Symptoms can last for several weeks and can also cause permanent neurological effects, according to the release.

What they'e saying

“Our teams have been working tirelessly, testing local mosquitoes for disease and performing treatments where we have found positive samples of the virus,” Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack said in the release. “These treatments are designed to disrupt the transmission cycle of the virus, reducing the chance that our residents become infected.”

Justin Fausek, director of the Mosquito Abatement program in Montgomery County, said 112 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile this season, including 66 in The Woodlands Township. Mosquito treatment can also be tracked online through the county's mosquito control map.

“Since that first week of trapping, we have seen a slow but steady increase in the levels of West Nile activity in the local mosquitoes,” Fausek said. “At the beginning of June, we saw a jump in activity, which has doubled the total number of positive samples collected this year. It’s unusual to see so much disease activity this early in the season.”

What else?

Mosquito bite prevention is the best way to avoid West Nile virus, officials said. Using insect repellants, wearing protective clothing and emptying standing water are all effective ways to avoid mosquito bites.

Montgomery County Mosquito Control is treating streets and county rights of way where positive West Nile samples are found, according to the release.

Montgomery County residents can receive help from the county team to identify and eliminate mosquito breeding sites on their property at no charge by calling Montgomery County Mosquito Control at 281-364-4203 or by emailing [email protected].