Fourth Houstonian dies from West Nile virus; six new cases reported
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The city of Houston is reporting another West Nile virus related death.
The city's fourth death from the mosquito borne disease is a 75- to 84-year-old man from northwest Houston. The Houston Health Department also reports six new human cases to raise the total in Houston to 49.
Harris County has 16 West Nile cases, but no deaths.
Fort Bend County has reported eight total cases.
Five people now have died of West Nile in our viewing area -- four in Houston and one in El Campo.
Overall, at least 74 human cases have been confirmed across the ABC13 viewing area with four deaths.
As for other counties in our area as of last Friday, Montgomery County has reported four cases with no deaths. Wharton County has had one case with one death. Liberty County and Galveston County have both had one case with zero deaths. Brazoria County and Waller County have all had zero cases thus far.
Federal health officials say this is the nation's worst year for the mosquito-borne virus since it was discovered in New York 13 years ago.
There are more than 1,400 cases of West Nile in the United States. Texas has at least 52 of the country's 118 West Nile related deaths.
Several Texas counties have been spraying pesticide to help reduce the mosquito population.
Mosquito-proof your property
HCPHES continues to encourage residents to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats around their property.
- Remove or empty all outside containers that may hold water such as flowerpots, tires and toys.
- Bird baths and pet water bowls should be changed at least twice a week.
- Clean out gutters and make sure windows and doors have proper screening.
- Do not "feed" the storm drains. Sweep up lawn clippings, leaves and tree limbs from sidewalks and driveways and dispose of them properly.
Prevent mosquito breeding in boats
- Cover your boat and store it in a covered place.
- Drain any standing water and make sure the bilge pump is working.
- Turn over canoes, kayaks and small boats to store upside down.
Historically, in Harris County, July through September is the peak timeframe for disease transmission to humans. To reduce the likelihood of being bitten by mosquitoes, practice personal protective measures.
- When outdoors, use an insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 and apply as directed on the label.
- If possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
For additional information and/or maps of West Nile Virus activity in Harris County, visit www.hcphes.org.
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