Experts Say West Nile Virus Exists Everywhere

Here in East Texas it's becoming an all too familiar sound -- buzzing mosquitos.

Mosquitoes are something we battle every year, but last summer-- West Nile Virus emerged. It has taken just a year-- but now experts say there is no community, and no neighborhood in East Texas that is West Nile free.

"They're very thick around here. The little ankle biters will give you fits," says Andy Andrews, who lives on DeCharles Street, where positive mosquitoes were found.

Mosquitoes are the scourge of every summer. But this summer, with the threat of West Nile, those on DeCharles Street are taking special note.

"We look for storm drains, places like that, any areas that have standing water," says Chris Lennon, who sprays for mosquitoes.

"This is your typical Tyler neighborhood. People keep their yards up, it's not like there are bar ditches along the roadway," says Gary Chambers of Tyler/Smith County Vector Control.

It's just an example that West Nile is not somewhere else -- not someone else's problem.

"They are everywhere. We haven't had a section of town where we haven't had complaints about mosquitoes, and there hasn't been a section of town where we haven't had reports of dead and dying birds," Chambers says.

The Health Department cannot test any more birds. They're looking for mosquitoes to find the species that is most responsible for the virus in East Texas. But from the neighborhood, to the playground, to the country, it's here.

"West Nile Virus is going to be a permanent part of the environment in the City of Tyler from now on," Chambers adds.

So Andy's still living life the same, just dressing a bit differently.

"Wear longer clothes, don't wear shorts out here as much. Wait until the sun's well lit, nice and warm - as you can see - to mow the grass," he says.

Friday, another West Nile case was reported in Smith County. This one confirmed in a horse.

It was pastured off County Road 2767 in the Morningside Addition, just east of Tyler. The quarter horse came down with symptoms August 23rd, and had to be euthanized.

The best defense for horses is a set of vaccinations. For humans, you're urged to use an insect repellent containing the chemical, DEET.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.