Your summer guide to Zika, West Nile and other mosquito-borne viruses.
Independence Day brought rain and heat to North Texas; two things mosquitoes love most. The holiday also brought reports of the 12th case of Zika virus in Dallas County and the 8th in Tarrant County, bringing the total in Texas to 53 as of July 6. Nationwide, the CDC reports 935 cases as of June 29, with 12 babies impacted by the virus: 7 infants with birth defects and 5 pregnancy losses with birth defects. July 6 also marked Dallas County’s first confirmed case of West Nile Virus this year. Given the circumstances, we thought it might be helpful to provide a recap of risk factors, symptoms, treatments and prevention measures for Zika and West Nile. And while we’re on the subject of mosquitoes, we’ll include a couple of other mosquito-borne viruses North Texans need to watch out for as well.
Zika has been a topic of concern since last July when the country of Brazil, an active Zika virus transmission area, reported links between the virus and Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults and microcephaly in infants (a neurological birth defect that results in an underdeveloped head and brain). Currently, there are no reports of locally transmitted cases of Zika in Texas with the exception of one Dallas County resident who had sexual contact with someone who acquired the virus while traveling abroad.
But Americans — especially athletes and coaches heading to Rio to compete in this August’s Olympic Games — are also concerned about summer travel plans. If it makes you feel any better, the World Health Organization issued a statement June 14 announcing there is no reason to move or postpone the games; partly because it’s about to be winter in Brazil.
This is great news for sports fans everywhere, but it is mosquito season in Texas, so it’s smart to be informed and prepared. Just keep in mind that your chances of getting Zika or any of the other mosquito-borne viruses listed below are very low, and of those who do become infected, with the exception of chikungunya, only about 1 in 5 develop symptoms.
Your guide to Zika, West Nile, dengue and chikungunya.
If you or someone in your family suspects they may have a mosquito-borne virus, alert a medical health professional immediately. If you are experiencing any of the complications listed above, seek immediate emergency medical treatment.
Medical City Healthcare wishes you a safe, bite-free summer, but if a mosquito ruins your day, it’s a relief to know there are 17 emergency locations with FastERTX average wait times posted online. Visit FastERTX.com to find the ER nearest you.