With record numbers of West Nile cases being reported in the U.S., and a number of deaths related to the virus, it is more important than ever to understand what to look out for.
By some medical accounts, mosquitos can be the worst carriers of disease. Public Health Director Annette Rodriguez, of the City-County Health District, has a vested interest in protecting herself and others from mosquitos infected with the West Nile virus.
The blood suckers are not quite what you think.
"They are not the dark, dark black ones with the long black legs," Rodriguez said. "These are the light, sand-colored ones, so you hardly ever see it."
Three out of four cases reported locally in the last month have had neurological effects on the person, which is rare. One West Nile death is already in the books this year in Corpus Christi. Rodriguez says grab the right level of repellant with DEET for the activities at hand.
"If your child is going to be outside in a sporting activity, make sure to use a stronger level DEET," Rodriguez said.
Be careful. If you are spraying a young child, apply the repellant to their clothing.
"Especially on infants, because their skin is so thin when they are young," she said.
Rodriguez said her greatest concern is what the South Texas heat does to the virus.
"When you see triple-digit temperatures, 101, 102, etc., like you saw in Dallas and what we've experienced recently, the West Nile virus replicates itself faster inside the mosquito," Rodriguez said.
So remember: use repellent, cover your arms and legs, drain standing water and stay indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most active.
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