Health & Science

Harris County West Nile Cases On The Rise

The number of cases surpassed the previous record set in 2012.

With cooler temperatures, mosquito activity is dwindling in the Houston area. But this year, the number of mosquito-borne West Nile cases in Harris County surpassed the previous record set in 2012.

Ebola is getting lots of attention, but the West Nile virus has claimed lives at a much higher rate this year without nearly the attention. Although the calendar says it’s October, officials are still finding mosquitoes with the virus.

Sandy Kachur is with Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services.

“So far this year, we’ve had 50 human cases confirmed in Harris County,” she said. “Right now we have about a 123 cases, both city and county.” 

The number of cases reported by Harris County and Houston make up more than half of West Nile cases in Texas.

“We’ve had a lot of rain in the spring, and some experts suggest that that could possibly be the reason for the increased number of West Nile virus activity,” Kachur said. “Harris County is so large you can be in one part of the county and it’s different from the other part. We have concrete and cement in some areas, and we have high vegetation in other areas of the county.”

Kachur says it’s still prudent to take some simple measures.

“We don’t want people to become complacent,” she said. “People need to wear long sleeves or long pants when they’re going to be outside, when the mosquito that carries West Nile virus in Houston and Harris County is most active, which is the night time.” 

Montgomery County also reports record numbers — 24 human cases, compared to 17 in 2012. 

 

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