A mild winter combined with rain in Harris County has created a favorable climate for mosquitoes. This has led to an increase in the infected with West Nile virus— several people have died. The virus spreads primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. In rare cases, the virus spreads through transfusions, breastfeeding, from mother to baby during pregnancy, and organ transplants.
West Nile virus symptoms appear between three and 14 days after an infected mosquito bites a person. Four out of five people (about 80%) infected with the virus do not show any symptoms. 20% will exhibit mild symptoms:
- Body aches
- Swollen lymph glands or skin rash
People over 50 and those with a weak immune system have a high risk of getting severely sick. About one in 150 cases experiences severe symptoms:
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of vision
- High fever
- Disorientation, stupor or coma
- Numbness or paralysis
- Stiff neck
There is no explicit treatment for West Nile virus. The fever and aches associated with milder cases disappear on their own. Hospitalization may be required for those who have severe symptoms. In severe cases, West Nile virus can turn into meningitis, swelling of the membrane that encloses the brain, or encephalitis, swelling of the brain.
The most successful way to avert West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites. There are various ways to prevent mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellant that contains DEET
- Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and sunset, the most active time for mosquitoes
- Eliminate standing water in tire swings, unused tires, barrels, toys, flower pots, and children’s wading pools
- Empty pet dishes and birdbaths at least two times a week
- Install screens on doors and windows to keep out the mosquitoes
ABC Home & Commercial Services can help with mosquito and pest control in Houston and Harris County. We offer several services that help residents protect themselves from West Nile virus:
- Installation of a mosquito misting system
- Commercial and residential lawn and pool maintenance for Houston and Harris County
Controlling mosquitoes is essential to preventing the spread of West Nile virus. Call us to learn more about our integrated approach to mosquito control in Houston.