Dallas County, Texas health officials have confirmed the first two human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in Dallas County for the 2014 season. One resident lives in the 75019 zip code and the other lives in 75230. Both residents were diagnosed with West Nile fever. For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, DCHHS does not provide additional identifying information.
“We want our residents to know the mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are here and they’re active,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director. “Our mosquito surveillance program and the county and municipal abatement teams are taking appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our residents. However, it is important for residents to take the necessary precautions.”
In the 2012 West Nile virus (WNV) outbreak that affected 5,674 people and killing 286, Dallas County was considered the epicenter of the epidemic. In 2012, Dallas County recorded 398 WNV cases and 20 deaths, easily topping every state in the country except Texas (of course) (1,868) and California (479).
Fortunately, Dallas County’s WNV troubles decreased dramatically in 2013 to 16 cases.
As of July 15, 29 West Nile virus infections in humans have been reported to CDC ArboNET in 2014 from the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. One fatality has been reported in Missouri.
First discovered in Uganda in 1937, West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation. West Nile virus was first detected in North America in 1999 in New York. Prior to that, it had only been found in Africa, Eastern Europe, and West Asia.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.
Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
There is no specific treatment for WNV infection. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page