Third case of West Nile neuroinvasive disease reported in Smith Co.

Third case of West Nile neuroinvasive disease reported in Smith Co.

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A third case of West Nile illness has been reported in Smith County.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, West Nile continues to spread in Texas, even with the cooling temperatures.

DSHS says there has been one new case of West Nile neuroinvasive disease in Smith County since October 11.

The department also reports at least 200 cases of illness and seven deaths in Texas in 2016.

Dr. Levin with UT Health Northeast said they see West Nile cases each year.

"If we started seeing dozens of cases then that's problematic you know something is clearly going on. But right now it's not unanticipated that we might see a handful of cases over the course of the season," he explained.

He also says the number of people that develop a serious form of the disease is low.

"A lot of people have probably been infected with the virus over years and have developed antibody to the virus and those people really have nothing to worry about because they are now protected based upon their own innate antibodies," he added.

The DSHS says people should reduce their risk of exposure to the mosquito-borne virus that causes it by eliminating standing water and other mosquito breeding areas and avoiding mosquito bites.

The department also says that 80 percent of people who contract the virus will have no symptoms at all. Almost all others will have West Nile fever with symptoms like headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue.

A very small minority will develop West Nile neuroinvasive disease, a life-threatening illness that can cause neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.

In 2015, there were 275 human cases of West Nile illness in Texas, including 16 deaths, according to DSHS.

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