Harris County confirms first case of West Nile virus for 2019

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Harris County Public Health officials confirmed June 20 they have detected the first case of West Nile virus of the year in a mosquito near Memorial Park.

ZIP code 77007, which includes the Rice Military neighborhood west of downtown Houston, is receiving treatment to reduce the mosquito population as standard procedure, said Eddie Miranda, HCPH senior public information officer.

The case was detected through the agency’s routine testing throughout the county.

“We do surveillance all year-round. We set traps to capture mosquitos and bring in for testing for multiple types of disease,” Miranda said. “If a case is found, we treat the area with ground spraying.”

Officials said the case is not cause for alarm but is a reminder to take precautions, such as using repellent, removing any stagnant water on properties and reporting cases of dead birds—which can carry the virus—or breeding sites through the agency’s mobile app or HCPH’s website.

Standing water in the city of Houston can be reported using the 311 hotline.

In 2018, Texas saw 133 cases of West Nile and five deaths attributed to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only one in five people with the virus present any symptoms, and only one in 150 develop a life-threatening condition, according to the CDC.

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Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.
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