Amarillo, TX - Officials have confirmed the first cases of West Nile in Potter and Randall counties.
Mosquitoes, not only are they a nuisance...but they can also carry West Nile. And with all the recent rain, they are out in full force. Now Potter and Randall counties have confirmed their first cases of the virus.
There have been fewer than five cases in both counties combined, however Director of Public Health Casie Stoughton says case numbers fluctuate from year to year.
"You know, every year is a little different," says Stoughton. "Last year we had more cases so it's nice that this year we're starting off a little but this it that time of year when we anticipate seeing our first cases of West Nile. Late summer early fall."
The Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory tells us they have also confirmed cases in horses. There have been ten state-wide and of those ten, three are here in the panhandle. While a bit more difficult to prevent in equine, Stoughton reminds the public of precautions humans can take.
"Wear bug spray that has DEET in it. Drain any standing water. Dress in long sleeves and pants, especially during the dawn and dusk hours. The very best way to combat West Nile is to not get West Nile. And so with those 5 ds, that's the very best way to protect yourself," says Stoughton.
The death rate for horses that contract West Nile is 30-40 percent. For humans, around 3-15 percent. Stoughton says any symptoms should not be ignored.
"Typically it's those flu-like symptoms. Maybe you run a fever for several says or get a headache and don't feel well so that would drive people to the the doctors office and then if the doctor felt like the symptoms were in line with those for west nile then there might be an additional testing."