EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - We have heard so much this year about the Zika virus that is contracted by a bite from an infected mosquito.
Cases of the disease have started making their way into the United States and it is a matter of time before it spreads even farther across our land. But there is another mosquito-borne virus that has been around for a while that is now rearing its head in Texas and has already caused at least one death in the Dallas area.
That is West Nile Virus.
West Nile causes reactions in about 20 percent of those who are bitten by a transmitting mosquito. But a very large portion of the population is at risk and the disease can cause serious illness and even death. There are only a few dozen counties that West Nile has been found active in Texas but Smith County, right here in East Texas, is one of those counties where mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile.
This is a serious problem. You can lower your chance of being infected by removing the mosquito-friendly areas around your house and any other place you frequent. Applying bug spray with Deet, wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants and avoiding being outside early and late are just a few of the precautions you can take.
Officials are working on a vaccine but nothing is available yet so it is up to us as individuals to protect ourselves. We have more information on protecting yourself against West Nile under the Home tab on our website. You can also visit the CDC website for more information.