The City of Lubbock Health Department has confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus in Lubbock for 2016. WNV is a disease of birds. Humans are exposed to the virus when they are bitten by mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds. The infected mosquitoes become the link (vector) that spreads the disease from birds to humans through a mosquito bite. WNV cannot be spread person-to-person.
Symptoms of West Nile virus include headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. People with West Nile fever typically recover on their own. There is a more serious form of the illness, West Nile Neuroinvasive disease, which may have additional symptoms of neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. Up to 80 percent of people infected with the virus will have no symptoms.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection. People over 50 years old and those with other health issues are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill. If people have symptoms and suspect West Nile virus infection, they should contact their healthcare provider.
While we are near the end of mosquito season it is important for individuals to continue to take steps to avoid mosquito bites. These include:
- Wearing an EPA registered insect repellant
- Covering up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Keeping mosquitoes out of living areas by using air conditioning or intact window screens
- Limiting outdoor activities during peak mosquito times
- Dumping standing water around your home