Three new cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Parker County, bringing the total confirmed number of cases to five, including three Weatherford residents, Parker County Emergency Management announced Thursday afternoon.
A 79-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man, both from the 76086 zip code in Weatherford, and a 21-year-old woman from the 76020 zip code in Azle are the three most recent confirmed cases.
A 64-year-old Weatherford woman from the 76086 zip code and a 75-year-old Poolville man from the 76487 zip code are the two previously confirmed cases. All five people reportedly had the more serious neuroinvasive form of the virus that causes life-threatening conditions such as meningitis or encephalitis, according to emergency management officials. No deaths have been reported in Parker County.
Though there are only five confirmed cases, it can take state officials up to three weeks to confirm a case, according to the county.
Among many West Nile-related deaths across the U.S. and North Texas this year, Tarrant County has had seven deaths reported while Dallas County has had 15 deaths reported.
According to information published by the state, Parker County has not had any confirmed cases of West Nile in humans in recent years, though quite a few horses have reportedly had the virus in the county in the last decade.
Parker County Judge and Emergency Management Director Mark Riley is recommending residents take precautions to prevent the mosquito-borne virus.
The following “Four Ds” to help prevent West Nile virus are recommended:
• Use insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
• Dress in long sleeves and long pants when you are outside.
• Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
• Drain standing water where mosquitoes breed. Common breeding sites include old tires, flowerpots and clogged rain gutters.
Most of those infected-about 80 percent-have no symptoms. Less than 1 percent of those bitten by infected mosquitoes become severely ill.
However, those over 50 years old, as well as those with weakened immune systems, are at a greater risk for becoming ill if they do become infected.
Weatherford does not currently spray for mosquitoes out of concerns for public and wildlife safety but does place mosquito briquettes in ponds and other standing water areas in parks, according to information from the city.
The city is currently giving away mosquito larvicide tablets at city hall for residents to use on their own property.
Residents who show proof of residency, such as a utility bill, can pick up the “dunks” between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 303 Palo Pinto Street.
The larvicide tablets kill mosquito larvae for 30 to 45 days when placed in standing water such as flower pots, ditches, old tires, bird baths, rain gutters, standing pools and rain barrels.
Hudson Oaks residents can also pick up to two larvicide tablets at city hall at 210 North Lakeshore Drive or have them delivered by calling the city at 682-229-2400.
For more information on the West Nile virus, visit www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/arboviral/westNile.