Dallas County health officials reported this year’s third and fourth human cases of West Nile Virus Tuesday – one in Richardson and one in Lake Highlands. The victims live in the 75081 and 75231 zip codes.
West Nile is a mosquito-borne infection, with symptoms including fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes. Severe symptoms can include stiff neck, sleepiness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions and paralysis.
Victims typically show the first symptoms within 3 to 14 days of being bitten by an infecting mosquito, though approximately 80% of infected people show no symptoms.
No vaccine or treatment is yet available for West Nile, but patients are sometimes hospitalized for supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids and pain meds. The best way to prevent being infected is staying indoors or using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites. Residents are also advised to remove standing water, which helps mosquitoes breed, from around their homes. Upturned toys and empty planters – even a discarded bottle lid – can fill with rainwater and breed mosquitoes.