Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) officials reported Wednesday on the first West Nile Virus (WNV)-associated death of the 2016 season. The death involved a senior adult with underlying medical conditions.
Last year, TCPH reported one associated death for the season.
West Nile Virus can affect anyone, although people age 50 and older run a higher risk of developing a severe infection. About 20 percent of infected people will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of the disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Less than one percent of infected people develop inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues. The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis.
The Texas Department of State Health Services puts the number of WNV cases in Tarrant County at 36, and statewide at 225.
In Dallas County, health officials confirmed a third case of imported Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) in Dallas County for 2016. The 56 year-old resident of Grand Prairie was infected during recent travel to Mexico.
CHIKV is transmitted to people through mosquito bites from Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These are the same mosquitoes that have been found to carry Zika, Dengue and West Nile viruses. CHIKV does not often result in death, however the symptoms can be disabling. Most people infected with CHIKV will develop symptoms of fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. CDC advises there is no vaccine to treat or prevent the Chikungunya virus. Treatment consists of rest, drinking fluids to prevent dehydration and Tylenol to reduce fever and pain.
As of Wednesday, Texas has had 234 reported cases of illness due to Zika virus. All the cases were associated with travel to an area where Zika is being spread. This count includes 14 pregnant women, two infants infected before birth, and two people who had sexual contact with travelers.
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