GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Since Dallas county reported its first human case of West Nile virus along with two other North Texas counties, Grayson County Health Department officials say there are a few simple guidelines to remember for prevention.
So far this year there have been seven confirmed cases of the West Nile Virus in Denton, Dallas and Parker counties. Mosquitoes carrying West Nile have also been confirmed in Collin County. With cases so close to home, the Grayson County Health Department urges residents to protect themselves.
Health officials say the West Nile Virus is probably in Grayson county too so Grayson County Health Department officials are relying on residents to protect themselves using the four D's:
"If at all possible avoid the hours of dusk until dawn," said Environmental Health Services Manager and Registered Sanitarian at GCHD Amanda Ortez. " That's the prime hours the mosquitoes tend to bite the human."
"Wear long sleeve and long pants to avoid getting bit."
"Obtain a repellant that contains EET and be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions."
"Make sure flower pots, water dishes, bird baths and children's swimming pools are properly drained so they're not breeding grounds."
Ortez says 80% of victims bitten don't show symptoms. About 20% experience minor symptoms like headache and stiffness. And a small percent are more at risk for severe symptoms like coma, numbness and high fever.
"Those are typically individuals that are 50 years of age and older," she said. "So we really want to be sure we're protecting that population and any high risk individuals as well."
Health officials say people usually develop symptoms between 3 to 14 days after they're bitten by an infected mosquito. Right now there isn't a vaccine to protect humans against the potentially fatal virus.
So Ortez urges, "The public can help us. They can be proactive and follow those 4 D's to prevent West Nile Virus here in Grayson County."
For more tips on how you can protect yourself visit the CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/ and the Grayson County Health Departments website at http://www.co.grayson.tx.us/main.htm.
*Video of Grayson County resident provided by Kristen Shanahan.