Sugar Land, TX – The city of Sugar Land has confirmed its first case of West Nile encephalitis virus in 2021.
The Fort Bend County Health Department informed Dr. Joe Anzaldua, the city’s medical director and health authority, today that a person who lives in Sugar Land was diagnosed with West Nile Virus. It’s unknown where the exposure occurred.
The city will continue citywide spraying twice per week and is working closely with the Texas Department of State Health Services to trap and test mosquitos for the presence of the West Nile virus. The traps supplement the city’s larvicide and mosquito spraying operations.
Humans can contract West Nile virus from a mosquito bite. Infected mosquitoes get the virus from feeding on infected birds. The virus can cause serious illness or death.
Anzaldua urges residents to take precautions to reduce West Nile exposure.
“Residents should use insect repellent whenever they are outdoors and avoid going outside at dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most active,” said Anzaldua, who added that the city of Sugar Land has a comprehensive monitoring and testing program intended to keep the public safe. “People over 50 years old and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if infected with the virus. If people have symptoms that cause them concern, they should contact their healthcare provider immediately.”
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection. Symptoms may include a stiff neck, vision problems, body tremors, mental confusion, memory loss and seizures. The milder form of the illness is West Nile Fever. Symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle and bone aches, nausea and drowsiness. People with the milder form of the illness typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. Up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms and will recover on their own. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact their doctor.
The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends practicing the "Four Ds" as precautionary measures:
• Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
• Dress in long sleeves and long pants when you are outside.
• Stay indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
• Drain standing water where mosquitoes breed. Common breeding sites include old tires, flowerpots and clogged rain gutters.
It’s also important for residents to eliminate standing water around their homes, an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Learn more using the city’s interactive tool at http://webtools.sugarlandtx.gov/sl/epub/fightthebite/index.html.
For more information, visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/fightthebite.