Amarillo, TX - The Panhandle has seen cases of West Nile Virus over the past year.
The student physicians of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center focused on uncommon diseases and conditions found in our area for their research projects which were presented Wednesday during "Research Day".
Last year there were 175 cases of West Nile Virus reported in Texas, and ten cases of those cases were seen in Potter and Randall county, of those cases eight were the Neuroinvasive type meaning they affected the brain or the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.
"Less than one percent of people get Neuroinvasive West Nile Virus," said Dr. Amanda Hartman who is a Resident at Texas Tech University Heath Sciences Center in Amarillo.
The peak of West Nile season runs from July through September.
It's transferred when a mosquito bites an infected animal and then bites another animal or human.
"West Nile kind of gets amplified in birds who get very high levels in their blood stream and then the mosquito will bite the bird and come and bite a human or a horse and we get the virus," said Hartman.
However, the virus stops with humans, a mosquito cannot bite a human and get the virus.
And there are ways to protect yourself against West Nile Virus.
"The best way to protect against West Nile infection is to protect yourself against mosquitoes," Hartman said.
Hartman also says to remember to avoid going outside during dusk and down and make sure to wear long sleeves and pants and bug repellent.
The research found during projects such as Hartman's can really benefit our community and prepare the student physician's for their future.
"Seeing various new things that are relatively uncommon and most all these posters are relatively uncommon syndromes that allows our students to become better physicians, to be more well rounded and to have better skills at diagnosing unusual syndromes," said Dr. Thomas Hale who is the Associate Dean of Research at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo.