First West Nile death in Dallas County prompts health officials to encourage caution

 Dallas County’s first reported West Nile Virus death of the year has health officials are urging North Texans to protect themselves this summer.

The head of Dallas County Health and Human Services says this death should be a wake-up call for others. There is no vaccine or known cure for West Nile, but DEET mosquito repellent is widely regarded as the best protective option.

DCHHS says the patient resided in zip code 75248 and died of West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease on July 14th. That patient was said to be elderly and also had underlying medical conditions.

West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitos that have bitten infected birds. Dallas County has only seen three positive West Nile human cases, so far this year. DCHHS Director Zach Thompson says while that number seems low, the threat is high.

“We see a lot of people that are basically not hearing a lot about West Nile virus. We only had a few cases confirmed, but we're talking about a Neuroinvasive death, so that should be a wake-up call to say, ‘am I using mosquito repellent all day, every day?’"

West Nile Virus symptoms can mirror the Flu with fever, headache and muscle aches. Severe infections can cause other complications as well.

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