Human Cases Of West Nile Virus Found In Wichita Falls

WICHITA FALLS - The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District has received confirmed laboratory reports of three human cases of West Nile Virus in Wichita Falls. Cases are males in their late 20's and early 30's.

The Environmental Health Division confirmed Friday that a total of 16 mosquito samples in Wichita Falls have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. To reduce the risk of illness, the Environmental Health Division will continue with mosquito control measures. This includes testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus, spraying for adult mosquitoes, and treating standing water to eliminate breeding areas.

Newschannel 6 spoke with Lou Franklin, the Exec. Director at the Health Department, who confirmed those mosquitoes were gathered from the south, east, and central parts of town.  "Yes, we found more in those parts of town," Franklin said. "It's safe to say all areas of town have seen West Nile."

The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed that five pools of mosquitoes from Wichita Falls have tested positive for West Nile virus. The mosquitoes were collected on July 10 and 11 from mosquito traps placed in the southern area of Wichita Falls as part of a routine surveillance program.

Susan Morris with the City's General Environmental Health Office said the east and south sides are old sites where the mosquitos have been found before. The central side, however, is new.
"The mosquito that carries this virus likes heat. It's a late-summer mosquito, out of 40 different species. The southern house mosquito. Only a couple can carry the virus," Morris said.

Those mosquitos are attracted to stagnant, stinky water, not fresh rain water. This means they'll swarm around bird baths, old toys or dog dishes. Morris said, "If the water smells bad, these mosquitos like that water."

The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District reminds the Wichita County citizens of these tips to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Wear long sleeves and long pants when outside
  • Stay indoors at dusk and dawn
  • If you go outside wear a mosquito repellent with Deet
  • Keep your yard clean and free of areas were water can stand, giving mosquitoes a place to breed

The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District's Environmental Health Division will continue with our integrated pest management program for mosquito control. The services include testing for West Nile Virus and other mosquito borne diseases by;

  • collecting live mosquitoes throughout the county (they no longer accept birds for testing)
  • treating standing water
  • eliminating breeding areas and spraying for adult mosquitoes when weather conditions are favorable.

To request spraying for live mosquitoes in your area please call 940-761-7890.  
If you have specific questions about West Nile virus you can call 940-761-7697, or visit the CDC website.