Health workers aren't taking chances with West Nile

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by SHELTON GREEN / KVUE News and Photojournalist J.P. HARRINGTON

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheltonG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Updated Thursday, May 30 at 7:42 AM

AUSTIN --- A record breaking number of West Nile Virus cases in Texas has state and local officials trying to get a jump start on the disease this year.

Workers with the Austin/Travis County Health Department told KVUE they usually don’t set traps out for mosquitoes to test them for West Nile until late summer or early fall. However, in light of last year’s record number of cases, mosquito traps are already being put out.
 
“Probably to date we've set over a 100 [to] 120 traps," said Joe Staudt with the City of Austin.
 
Staudt also told KVUE that so far none of the tested samples in Travis County have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.
 
That is not the case in other parts of Texas where there have been nine positive test results for the virus. One person in Anderson County became the first human this year to have contracted West Nile.
 
This year, City and county health workers are going back to test spots which tested positive last year for the potentially deadly virus.
 
Eighty percent of all the people who contract the West Nile Virus don’t even know they have it because the symptoms for most are so slight. Young children and the elderly are most vulnerable.
 
While health officials didn’t have hard numbers, they did tell KVUE that more than half of the local people who tested positive for West Nile last year admitted that they were not using mosquito repellant at the time.

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