The Denton County Health Department (DCHD) is reporting its first human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) of the season and the first case of Chikungunya virus (ChikV) in a Denton County resident. The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed yesterday two cases of WNV—one resident in the City of Denton, the other in Argyle.
“These reports of mosquito-borne diseases highlight and confirm our concerns—positive mosquito testing pools across the County have alerted us to the likelihood of human WNV cases, and we’re beginning to see those cases this week” said Juan Rodriguez, Chief Epidemiologist for the Denton County Health Department.
Then, in addition to the WNV cases being reported, Friday morning brought the confirmation of Denton County’s first ChikV case. ChikV is an emerging disease that is transmitted by mosquitos that bite an infected person. The patient is a Lewisville resident with a travel history to an area associated with a current ChikV outbreak. So far, all ChikV cases in Texas have been linked to international travel to areas that have current outbreaks of the disease. The Centers for Disease Control describes transmission of ChikV as being transmitted to people through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.
ChikV is commonly associated with fever and joint pain in infected individuals. Rarely are the symptoms leading to chronic complications. However, people should still use protection and prevention methods as both diseases have the potential of serious complications.
“Once again, we’re seeing mosquito-borne diseases being reported in our communities, and we urge people to think about bite prevention,” says Dr. Matt Richardson, director of the Denton County Health Department. “We can sometimes sound repetitive, but we need people to listen to the message that will protect them from WNV and ChikV: follow the 4D’s to keep yourself and your loved ones from getting sick. WNV and ChikV have no vaccine and no cure, so prevention is our most effective tool. And individuals need to partner with us and take responsibility for protecting themselves.”
Please visit DCHD’s West Nile Virus website for extensive WNV and ChikV information including tips for reducing mosquitoes around the home, frequently asked questions, and printable flyers and posters. The website is dentoncounty.com/WNV.