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APH announces first case of West Nile virus

Thursday, July 30, 2020 by Tai Moses

While we’re waiting for a plague of locusts or a rain of frogs to complete the apocalyptic ambience, Austin Public Health wants everyone to know it has identified the year’s first likely case of West Nile virus, in a resident of northern Travis County. West Nile, for those who don’t know, is “the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States and is typically spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito.” You can’t get it through a cough or a sneeze or by touching an animal. Twenty percent of the people who are infected with West Nile virus develop mild flu-like symptoms, while the other 80 percent don’t even know they’ve got it. Like most things, the virus is more serious in people over 50. Janet Pichette, APH chief epidemiologist, said, “The first probable human case of West Nile Virus disease serves as a reminder to take precautions to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes, which can then bite and infect people in our community. Like many other diseases, we have the power to prevent West Nile Virus by draining standing water, limiting time spent outdoors, and wearing appropriate clothing and DEET when outdoors.” Find more information about West Nile virus and how to prevent it here.

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