News Column

West Nile Virus Hits 4 in Odessa, Texas

Aug. 17, 2012

Gabriella Lopez

With cases in other parts of Texas, West Nile virus has come to Odessa.

"In Ector County we have one confirmed case," Ector County Health Department Director Gino Solla said.

Solla said they received a preliminary report on the Ector County case Wednesday from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

And Medical Center Hospital is treating three patients from Andrews who have been diagnosed with West Nile virus, MCH Executive Director of Communications/Marketing Jacqui Gore said.

However, currently there is only one confirmed case of West Nile virus in Andrews, Andrews County Health Department nurse Mary Lou Cornejo said.

Mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus, and it can be found around areas that have standing water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.

There are two strains of West Nile virus: the neuroinvasive strain which causes meningitis and has symptoms including a stiff neck, visual problems, body tremors and seizures and the fever strain which has symptoms including a fever, headache, muscle and bone ache, nausea and drowsiness, Solla said.

Both the City of Odessa and the City of Andrews are spraying for mosquitoes.

For both cities, it's something they do each summer if it's needed, City of Andrews Director of Community Services Scott Wallace and City of Odessa representative Andrea Goodson said.

"We do it every summer as we start getting calls," Wallace said, adding that they also treat the city's lake.

In addition to spraying parts of Odessa two to three times a week, depending on the weather, Goodson said they also place "larvicide" in drainage channels and any areas of the parks where it might be needed, to prevent mosquitoes from hatching in standing water.

"Because of the West Nile the city has been proactive," Goodson said.

Solla recommended that Odessans that people try to remain indoors if they can, and wear loose clothing with long sleeves if they need to go outside.

They need to make sure they don't have any standing water, although chemically treated water like a swimming pool is all right, Solla said.

And if someone experiences West Nile virus symptoms for a few days they should visit their health care provider, Solla said.

Generally, West Nile virus comes to areas in central and east Texas that have a higher incidence of moisture, Solla said.

When it comes to West Texas, it stays briefly, Solla said.

"It comes this way and lasts a very short amount of time," Solla said.



Source: (c)2012 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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