Montgomery County now has a sixth human case of West Nile virus, an official confirmed Monday.
A 44-year-old resident of South Montgomery County was confirmed Friday as being diagnosed with West Nile virus, said Dr. Syed Ibrahim, chief epidemiologist for the Montgomery County Hospital District Public Health Department.
There have been no confirmations of any deaths from West Nile virus in Montgomery County, Ibrahim said. All six of the county’s human cases have been in South Montgomery County.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed 1,276 human cases of West Nile illness in Texas this year, including 58 deaths. Fifteen of those deaths were in Dallas County, while Harris County has had three.
West Nile is a mosquito-borne virus. There are two forms of the illness; West Nile neuroinvasive disease and West Nile fever. The symptoms of severe infection from West Nile neuroinvasive disease include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
West Nile fever is the milder form of the illness. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands.
Most people infected with the virus don’t know they have it, Ibrahim previously said, and less than 1 percent develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease, which includes inflammation of the brain, spinal cord or tissue surrounding the brain.
People older than 50 and those with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop this form.
To protect themselves, residents need to wear protective clothing (long sleeves and long pants) when outdoors, avoid going outside at dawn and dusk, and make their home unattractive to mosquitoes by emptying containers that may collect rainwater and sprinkler water.
Adults should use insect repellant that contains more than 10 percent DEET; children should use insect repellents that contain less than 10 percent DEET, and DEET should not be used at all on babies.