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Sixth Tarrant County death attributed to West Nile virus

Posted Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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Preventing West Nile Virus

The Tarrant County Public Health Department recommends the 4Ds.

Drain standing water on your property so mosquitoes won't breed.

Use insect repellent that contains DEET.

Stay indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most prevalent.

Dress in long sleeves and pants and spray insect repellent on the clothes.

West Nile virus symptoms

Most people who are infected with West Nile virus will not have any type of illness or may experience mild fever, headache and body aches before fully recovering. If illness were to occur, it would occur within 3 to 15 days of being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Symptoms

Fever, headache and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands.

In a very few individuals, particularly the elderly, the virus can affect brain tissue, cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), but more commonly presents as a febrile illness. Symptoms of encephalitis include rapid onset of severe headache, high fever, stiff neck (in meningitis), muscle weakness, confusion and loss of consciousness

Source: Tarrant County Public Health Department

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West Nile virus has claimed the life of a sixth Tarrant County resident, a Fort Worth man in his late 70s, county public health officials reported Tuesday.

In Dallas County, a Grand Prairie man in his 60s has died of West Nile-related illness, the county's 15th fatality, according to WFAA/Channel 8.

The Tarrant County man had underlying health conditions, said Vanassa Joseph, the public health spokeswoman. The previous five Tarrant County fatalities were of similar age and health.

No specific information is available on any of the victims because of federal medical privacy laws.

"We continue to remind people that everyone is at risk," Joseph said. "But what we've seen is a trend in people 50 or older with underlying health issues who are at risk of developing a severe West Nile infection."

The state death toll this year is now at least 50.

Health officials say symptoms include flu-like illness, with moderate-to-high fevers (about 102 or more), strong headaches, severe muscle aches or joint pains, eye pain, mental changes, fatigue, nausea and respiratory symptoms. People with these symptoms should check with their physicians, the officials said.

For more information online, go to tarrantcounty.com.

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684

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