Houston man who contracted West Nile Virus dies

August 4, 2012 4:59:43 AM PDT
As the weekend begins, we have a warning about spending time outdoors, as Houston has its first West Nile death of the year.

In the last week we've told you about warnings from the CDC and the state department about West Nile. Health officials are concerned because so far this year there's been a higher-than-normal number of human cases.

Many people go to Memorial Park in the morning or later at night to avoid the heat of the day. But it's those times that are especially bad for mosquitos.

Houstonians are making sure they're even more protected from mosquitos after hearing of the first death from West Nile virus in the city of Houston.

"We live in Houston. We're going to get bit by mosquitos, and we just have to be careful," Houstonian Laura Pham said.

Pham says she feels being mindful of the dangers of West Nile is important. That's why she came prepared to the park Friday afternoon and made sure her family sprayed down with bug spray.

"It's always a concern that someone could get sick just from just being outside enjoying life here in Houston," she said.

According to the City of Houston Health Department, an elderly man died Wednesday after contracting encephalitis. The man between 75 and 84 years old lived in southwest Houston.

"The Culex mosquito isn't a very aggressive mosquito; you're probably not going to notice when it bites you, you're probably not going to notice because it's real pesky," said Kathy Barton with city of Houston's health department

So far this year, in Houston and Harris County, there have been six reported cases, three in Houston and three in Harris County. The three victims in the county have all recovered. The city says infected mosquitos lurk everywhere.

"We have infected mosquitos all over the city, so people who live in other parts of the city shouldn't take a lot of comfort; you should continue to protect yourself," Barton said.

Ways to keep mosquitos at bay:

  • Make sure storms drains near your home are clear of debris and any extra water.
  • And at dusk and dawn-- wear long sleeves and pants if possible.
  • Also, use a bug spray that contains DEET.

"We have to keep it in perspective and know that the chances of being bitten by a mosquito that carries it is low," Pham said.

The city also suggests making sure you're keeping mosquitos out of your home. They said in many reported cases in the past, they have found that the victims where actually bit inside their homes, rather than from being outside.

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