Health officials continue reporting an increase in the mosquito population following the June floods. The concern about illnesses like the West Nile virus a growing concern.
Emily Antley, West Nile patient said, “I started to feel sick. I woke up with a headache and tried to get out of bed and needed help getting out of bed.”
That was the beginning of a two month-long nightmare for Emily Antley. After dozens of tests and no end in sight, a diagnosis from the Centers for Disease Control. It was a West Nile virus infection that almost cost Emily her life.
Emily’s case is now a reminder of the dangers of the mosquito borne illness.
Eddie Olivarez, Chief Administrative officer, “For us, West Nile is a very serious issue. We’ve actually had fatalities from West Nile in years past. We’ve had people who’ve actually gotten some very serious illnesses from West Nile in years past.”
There’ve been no West Nile cases in Hidalgo County over the last two years. But health officials warn that may soon change.
“We do have the probability, the potential for disease. We’ve had localized cases of Zika last year. We had localized cases of Dengue and Chikungunya, so the probability is going to be strong that we’re going to have localized cases this coming year due to this rain event, and the increase in mosquito population.” Said Olivarez.
This week the department of state health services is trapping large amounts of mosquitoes to determine if they’re carrying a virus. While a large number are nuisance mosquitoes, health officials say protecting yourself is still important.
Olivarez adds, “Wear long sleeves, long pants, use repellent, and repellent on your clothing.”
The county health department says cutting your lawn regularly and eliminating standing water are also key in preventing mosquitoes from laying their eggs.