Although there have been no confirmed cases of West Nile virus in Hopkins County, nine have been identified in Hunt County, and Hopkins County Memorial Hospital, along with city and county officials, are keeping a close watch.
Both County Judge Chris Brown and City Manager Marc Maxwell say the best defense is to practice these habits, known as the “Four Ds”:
Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Dress in long sleeves and long pants when you are outside.
Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
Drain standing water where mosquitoes breed. Common breeding sites include old tires, flower pots and clogged rain gutters.
Hopkins County Memorial Hospital's Chief Continued from Page 1
Executive Officer Michael McAndrew said the staff and physicians in the emergency department have not encountered any West Nile virus cases but are on high alert.
“I guess in this case, we are going to have to depend on luck considering the nature of how West Nile gets transmitted,” McAndrew said. “I've checked with our emergency room physicians and other members of our staff, and they tell me they haven't seen any indication that we've seen a case that would even warrant testing at this point So, we can hope to continue to be lucky if that's what it takes, but we haven't seen anything here that would warrant concern.”
The city manager said the city has been treating all the standing water that it is aware of with wafers that keep mosquito eggs from hatching.
While Dallas and other cities have begun spraying efforts to kill mosquitos, Maxwell said the city does not have the necessary spraying equipment, and he is reluctant to implement a spraying program for health concerns.
“I am very reluctant to spray with malathion,” he said. “No. 1, we don't have the equipment and, No. 2, it's a trade-off: which risk would you rather bear? The risk of being bitten by a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus or the risk of miscarriage, birth defects, kidney failure or liver disease.”
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne illness. Up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms and will recover on their own, however, some cases can cause serious illness or death. People over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming ill if they become infected with the virus.
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