AUSTIN -- The first confirmed case of West Nile virus this season has been reported by state health officials.
The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed Friday that an adult man from Anderson County in East Texas is recovering from the neuroinvasive form of the disease.
Anderson County is located southwest of Tyler, Texas. The county seat is Palestine, about 100 miles southeast of Dallas.
Experts say residents should follow the four D's to avoid West Nile virus:
- Dusk and Dawn: Stay indoors during dusk and dawn. This time period is when mosquitoes are more likely to carry the infection, and when they are most active.
- Dress: Wear pants and long sleeves when you are outside, especially in mosquito-infested areas.
- DEET: Apply insect repellent that contains DEET. Read and follow label instructions. Spray both exposed skin and clothing with repellent.
- Drain: Get rid of standing water in your yard and neighborhood. Old tires, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, leaky pipes and faucets, birdbaths and wading pools can be breeding sites for mosquitoes.
Symptoms of the milder form of illness, West Nile fever, can include headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. People with West Nile fever typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks, according to DSHS' press release.
Symptoms of the more serious form, West Nile neuroinvasive disease, can include those of West Nile fever plus neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. Up to 80 percent of people infected with the virus will have no symptoms.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection.
If people have symptoms and suspect West Nile virus infection, they should contact their health care provider.
Last year, Texas reported 1,868 human cases of West Nile illness, including 89 deaths.
Click here for updated West Nile case counts by county. Case counts are updated weekly.