After reporting three cases of West Nile virus last week, officials with the Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Department are reporting four new cases of West Nile virus and three new cases of Dengue Fever – two mosquito-borne illnesses.
The county announced the new cases Monday where county Health and Human Services Director Eduardo Olivarez said the cases serve as reminders that Hidalgo County is in the middle of mosquito season.
“In many areas of the country, mosquito season is typically during the summer but in South Texas, we see mosquito-borne illnesses more often in October, November and December,” Olivarez said in a statement, adding that the cooler weather is making people go outdoors and become targets for mosquitoes.
The new West Nile cases were found in Mercedes, Weslaco and Edinburg. The disease is the leading mosquito-borne disease in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. There are no vaccines or medications to treat the disease, but most people infected never show symptoms.
While roughly one in five people infected with West Nile will get sick, an estimated one in four people who get infected with Dengue will get sick, the CDC said. Severe Dengue can be life threatening and the most common symptoms of Dengue are fever, nausea, vomiting, rash as well as aches and pains.
To protect yourself against either West Nile or Dengue, the county says residents must protect themselves against mosquitoes by wearing long sleeve shirts and pants while outdoors and also avoid standing water. There is larvicide available at local stores to treat yards. In addition, the county, in conjunction with cities, has begun treatment efforts.