18 Texas counties report West Nile virus in 2020, including Bexar County, state data shows

In the past 10 years, Texas has reported 172 deaths and 3,300 cases of the virus

Mosquito. (Image by Emphyrio from Pixabay)

BRYAN, Texas – Last weekend, Brazos County Health District’s Mosquito Surveillance Unit confirmed that mosquito samples from the area have tested positive for West Nile virus.

That discovery put Brazos County on a list of 17 other counties in Texas that have reported a trace of the virus within livestock, humans or mosquitoes.

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State data shows Bexar County is also on the list of counties that have found the virus in mosquitoes in 2020. According to Metro Health, a mosquito captured in a trap east of downtown in July was found to have the virus.

Metro Health says they have 90 traps in 30 locations around the city. Those traps are checked every week and the mosquitoes are first sent to Texas A&M for study and then to Austin where they are tested for West Nile virus.

According to health experts, West Nile virus can be transmitted to animals and humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. So far, no human cases have been reported this year in Texas.

“Most people exposed to the virus do not get sick, but about 20% develop symptoms like headache, fever, body aches, joint pains, nausea, and fatigue,” the county said in a statement. “In a very small portion, less than one percent, the virus affects the nervous system, leading to a more serious illness that can cause neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and even death.”

No medications or treatments exist to prevent West Nile virus infection.

In the past 10 years, Texas has reported more than 3,300 cases of the virus, including 172 deaths, according to Texas’ Department of State Health Services.

“Right now, even though Brazos County is still concentrating on how to live safely with COVID-19, we cannot forget about West Nile Virus,” Rodriguez said. “As you continue to enjoy the outdoors, remember the 4 Ds.”

People are urged to use the 4Ds to reduce exposure to mosquitoes:

  • DEET All day, Every Day: Whenever outside, use insect repellents that have the active ingredient DEET or other EPA-registered repellents and always follow label instructions.
  • Dress: Wear long, loose, and light-colored clothing outside.
  • Drain: Drain or treat all standing water in and around your home or workplace where mosquitoes could lay eggs.
  • All Day long: Day, Dusk, and Dawn – Limit your time outdoors, mosquitoes are active any time day or night.

You can read more about mosquitos and West Nile Virus in Bexar County on the websites of Bexar County Emergency Management and Metro Health.

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About the Author:

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.