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West Nile cases on the rise; Tarrant County residents urged to take precautions

West Nile Virus (WNV) has reemerged as a current health threat in North Texas. Tarrant County Public Health is advising residents to take extra care as WNV cases increase across the county. Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said precautions against WNV are particularly important during the current pandemic.

“It’s prudent to stay focused on protecting against COVID-19, and although mosquitoes do not carry the COVID-19 virus, we don’t want to minimize the dangers of West Nile right now,” Taneja said. The symptoms are similar and since it can be hard to tell the difference, he encouraged residents to see a doctor if they experience fever, cough or sore throat.  “We want to remind everyone to protect themselves against mosquitoes by wearing long sleeves and pants and using repellents when outside.”

Tarrant County Vector Control Supervisor Nina Dacko said most of the positive mosquito results have been in northeast Tarrant County. “In 2018 and 2019, the number of positive mosquito pool samples were very low, which is cause for concern this summer,” Dacko said. “Environmental factors are ripe for the virus to make a big comeback and recent rains also allow more mosquitoes to thrive in hot weather like Texas is experiencing right now.”

Here is a list of mosquito repellents endorsed by the FDA and CDC. Tarrant County Public Health also has more information about West Nile Virus and other preventive measures residents can take at Be Mosquito Free.