Montgomery Co. woman tests positive for West Nile Virus, marking 1st case in area, officials say

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Wednesday, June 26, 2024
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Health officials announced on Tuesday that the first human case of the West Nile Virus has been reported in Montgomery County.

The video above is from a previous report.

Montgomery County health officials said a woman in her 50s was taken to a local emergency room and tested positive for the virus through a blood test.

Officials said the case is being investigated, and crews are treating areas where positive mosquito samples have been recorded.

Montgomery County Mosquito Control said it has documented abnormally high levels of West Nile virus activity in the local mosquito population this season.

The positive human case comes hours after a mosquito tested positive for West Nile Virus in Bellaire and another in Fort Bend County earlier this month.

County health officials said the virus can cause serious disease and is most commonly spread by infected mosquitoes. They said people tend to develop symptoms about two weeks after being bitten.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 80% of people who are infected will not show any symptoms, but there is no way to know in advance whether a person will develop an illness.

The CDC says the most effective way to avoid the West Nile Virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Authorities urge you to follow the 4 Ds when it comes to mosquito safety:

  • Dusk and Dawn mosquito activity is heightened during these periods. Take the proper precautions for the other Ds when out and about.
  • Drain flower pots, pet dishes, blocked gutters, or any containers that may hold standing water to prevent mosquito breeding grounds. Treat any water that cannot be drained.
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors to minimize exposed skin.
  • Defend by using an EPA-approved insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

"Our teams have been working tirelessly, testing local mosquitoes for disease and performing treatments where we have found positive samples of the virus," Montgomery County Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack said. "These treatments are designed to disrupt the transmission cycle of the virus, reducing the chance that our residents become infected."

According to Justin Fausek, director of the Mosquito Abatement program in Montgomery County, the first positive samples were collected at the beginning of May.

He said it's an early start for West Nile activity in this region, noting that there have been 112 positive mosquito samples, including 66 in The Woodlands Township, so far this season.

"Since that first week of trapping, we have seen a slow, but steady, increase in the levels of West Nile activity in the local mosquitoes," Fausek said. "At the beginning of June, we saw a jump in activity, which has doubled the total number of positive samples collected this year. It's unusual to see so much disease activity this early in the season."

Residents can view the Mosquito Abatement program's website to learn more about the mosquito control efforts taking place throughout Montgomery County