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West Nile kills one in Titus County

From Staff Reports
Sept. 17, 2012 at 10 p.m.


The state health department on Monday reported a Titus County resident has died of West Nile neuroinvasive disease - the sole fatality in Texas contributed to the mosquito-borne illness since Friday, the last day statistics were released by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The latest East Texas death brings the state death toll from West Nile illnesses to 58.

There have been no new cases of West Nile fever or West Nile neuroinvasive disease reported in any East Texas counties since Friday.

The state health department on Monday reported 1,276 cases of West Nile disease - up 38 cases since Friday, including 21 new cases of West Nile fever and 17 new cases of West Nile neuroinvasive disease.

Though there was a death in Titus County, overall the numbers are beginning to slow.

The slowing rates, combined with cooler temperatures, has the city of Longview's Environmental Health Supervisor Buck Farrar cautiously optimistic that the season for illness is nearing an end.

"I would suspect that our mosquito problem is beginning to dissipate," Farrar said.

While the number of cases recorded by the state health continue to rise, Farrar said the state's data reflects a lag time. Those cases, he said, can be from people bitten by West Nile-carrying mosquitoes up to a month ago.

Since Friday, Farrar's office has not been notified of any new cases in the area, he said.

This weekend's rain has helped lower temperatures, but could pose a problem if the water is allowed to stand and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Typically, it takes a sustained 50-degrees-or-less low before mosquitoes stop flying and biting.

When less than 60 degrees, they become lethargic and fly less, he said.

On those 50-degree days, the city does not spray, he said.

Based on weather forecasts, there likely will be a couple of days this week that the city will not conduct citywide spraying.

As soon as temperatures climb above the 50-degree mark, the city will resume it's citywide spraying schedule.

This week, mosquito control workers plan to inspect areas that could hold water after this weekend's rainfall.

"Our vector technicians will have to go back and re-examine the ditches and areas they had previously treated with chemical dumps and larvicides to make sure they don't need to be treated again," Farrar said.

The weather and the number of cases seem to be trending downward, and that is a good thing," Farrar said.

He estimated the city would continue spraying efforts through September, and possibly mid-October, depending on the weather.

In the meantime, anyone going outside between the hours of dusk and dawn - when the Culex mosquito is most active - should take precautions by remembering the four Ds.

<ul> <li>Use mosquito repellent with DEET</li> <li>Dress in long pants or sleeves</li> <li>Be especially careful at dusk and dawn</li> <li>Drain standing water, such as in kiddie pools or bird fountains, anywhere that mosquitoes may breed.</li> </ul> <h3>West Nile numbers</h3> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong>County</strong></td> <td><strong>Deaths</strong></td> <td><strong>Neuroinvasive</strong></td> <td><strong>Fever</strong></td> <td><strong>Total cases</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Angelina</td> <td>0</td> <td>7</td> <td>6</td> <td>13</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Bowie</td> <td>0</td> <td>6</td> <td>5</td> <td>11</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Camp</td> <td>0</td> <td>1</td> <td>0</td> <td>1</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Cass</td> <td>1</td> <td>1</td> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dallas</td> <td>15</td> <td>149</td> <td>165</td> <td>314</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Denton</td> <td>2</td> <td>44</td> <td>97</td> <td>141</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Gregg</td> <td>1</td> <td>14</td> <td>9</td> <td>23</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Harrison</td> <td>1</td> <td>3</td> <td>2</td> <td>5</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Henderson</td> <td>0</td> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> <td>3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Panola</td> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> <td>1</td> <td>3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Rusk</td> <td>0</td> <td>6</td> <td>1</td> <td>7</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Smith</td> <td>0</td> <td>8</td> <td>4</td> <td>12</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Tarrant</td> <td>5</td> <td>96</td> <td>140</td> <td>236</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Titus</td> <td>1</td> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> <td>3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Upshur</td> <td>0</td> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> <td>3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Van Zandt</td> <td>0</td> <td>2</td> <td>4</td> <td>6</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Statewide</strong></td> <td><strong>58</strong></td> <td><strong>593</strong></td> <td><strong>666</strong></td> <td><strong>1,276</strong></td> </tr> </tbody> </table>

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