Just weeks after reporting its first positive mosquito testing for West Nile virus, Southlake has received official confirmation this week of its first human case of West Nile fever. The patient, being identified only as a woman in her 60s, is being treated at an area hospital. County health officials do not know where exactly she contracted the fever.
The Tarrant County Health Department has been testing mosquitos and humans for months now to stay on top of a particularly strong year for West Nile virus in the North Texas area. Mosquito samples taken from Southlake, Colleyville and Grapevine have all come back positive for the virus, but Southlake is the first to confirm a human case in this market.
West Nile virus is commonly found in Africa, West Asia and the Middle East, and is passed through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Its incubation period in humans is three to 14 days, and though many people will not show signs of the illness, those who do often experience fever, head and body aches, and occassionally a skin rash on their torso or swollen lymph glands. West Nile Fever is a mild form of the virus, which in more serious cases can bring on high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, or even paralysis, coma or death.
In addition to work by city and county officials, Southlake leaders are asking residents to be proactive in the fight against mosquitoes and West Nile by following the Four D's:
— DRAIN standing water
— Use an insect repellant containing DEET
— Stay indoors during DUSK and DAWN, as those times are when mosquitos are most active
— DRESS in long sleeves and pants when you are outside.
To help residents keep their neighborhoods mosquito free, Southlake is also making biological mosquito larvicide available on a first-come, first-served basis — one per household — at the Southlake Community Center, 400 N. White Chapel Blvd., and the Public Works Operations, 1950 E. Continental Blvd.
The larvicide will not affect fish plants or people, but it kills mosquito larve on the surface of standing water for a 30-day period.