The first human case of the West Nile virus in Tarrant County this year has been reported, coming about three weeks earlier than the first case last year, health officials announced Monday.
The case was identified in a patient in Fort Worth and is considered to be a mild form of the mosquito-borne virus, according to a news release from Tarrant County Public Health.
The first human case last year was reported on July 13. There were 44 cases reported for the entire year, including one death, the news release said.
“Anytime something like this arises early in the season it’s a cause for concern,” Tarrant County Public Health spokesman Kelly Hanes said. “It’s a good reminder to take protection, wear long-sleeve pants and cover up.”
This year, Tarrant County saw its earliest positive West Nile sample, on April 13 in Grapevine. It was the earliest positive sample since testing began after the 2012 West Nile outbreak.
The symptoms for West Nile virus include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Severe cases can develop into West Nile encephalitis and West Nile meningitis, which can result in death.
This report contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.