ETX West Nile cases continue to climb - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX West Nile cases continue to climb


The number of West Nile cases in East Texas continues to climb, and a new county is reporting its first infection.

Wood County now has their first case of West Nile Virus.

That makes a total of 28 East Texas counties with either cases of the West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease or West Nile Fever.

Health officials say people still need to be cautious, especially considering we have not had our first hard freeze yet.

All told, there have been 158 cases of the West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease or West Nile Fever in East Texas.

Eight East Texans have been killed by the disease.

In the state of Texas, there have been nearly 1,700 cases of West Nile and almost 80 deaths; this has been the worst year for West Nile on record in the state.

Health officials in East Texas tell us they are still treating stagnant water and encouraging residents to take care of mosquito breeding grounds near their homes.

U.T. Tyler Associate Biology Professor Blake Bextine say it's those efforts that have helped decrease the number of West Nile cases as we move into the fall, but people still need to be cautious.

"You have to remember that it's going to come back next year, so the number of mosquitoes that we can reduce this year will impact the numbers next year," Bextine said.

"Everyone thinks that because it gets cool, everyone thinks that the mosquitoes are gone, when the truth of the matter is they're just laying there waiting for a nice warm afternoon to so they can cook up again," said Bob Gardner with the North East Texas Public Health District.

Garnder says it's important for East Texans to continue emptying water out of trash cans, gutters, flower pots, wheel-barrows and toys left outdoors.

Even tarps that have collected water could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

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