HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (KVEO) — Three cases of the West Nile virus have been confirmed in Hidalgo County. Health officials say this could be the start of more cases.

Two of the cases are in Mercedes and one in Weslaco.

Eduardo Olivarez, Director for Hidalgo County’s Health and Human Services, explains what the community can do to prevent additional cases.

“One of the number one ways to prevent this, the number one way is to not get stung by mosquitos but that’s very difficult in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Olivarez. 

These cases will eventually be added to the list of cases in Texas.

“The 48 cases [in Texas] do not include the three cases in Hidalgo, so it would be once the state reviews our cases here in Hidalgo, it would be up to 51 but that is pending the state’s review,” said Olivarez.

Health officials were able to find out who had the virus because of the symptoms they showed.

“Two of the cases had the type of West Nile that’s called neuroinvasive. It affects the nervous system and can affect the brain and assist that based on some of the symptoms the person was exhibiting,” said Olivarez. 

However, that will not always be the case. Olivarez says the majority of the time people do not show symptoms.

“The majority of people that have it, don’t even know they have it. By far the majority of people never show symptoms of West Nile.”  

Olivarez explains mosquito bites prevention can be done by residents.

“By you removing standing water in your yard, cutting your grass, maintaining your patios and your gardens. Keeping everything in check to keep mosquito activity to a minimum,” said Olivarez.

He also says people can protect themselves with their clothes.

“So, the best thing to do is wear long sleeves, long pants, use a repellant of some type to keep mosquitos off you and limit your activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active,” said Olivarez.

Olivarez added that it is usually a pattern. Health authorities expect more cases to surface.