Four new cases of West Nile virus and three new cases of Dengue Fever have sprung up in Hidalgo County, officials stated Monday.
The new cases of West Nile were discovered in the Mercedes, Weslaco and Edinburg areas, according to a news release issued by the county, and are in addition to the three cases of West Nile reported on Oct. 19. Those cases were in Mercedes and in Weslaco.
With the confirmed presence of these two mosquito-borne illnesses in the area, the county is reminding residents that it is currently the middle of mosquito season.
“In many areas of the country, mosquito season is typically during the summer,” said Health and Human Services Director Eduardo Olivarez. “But in South Texas, we see mosquito-borne illnesses more often in October, November and December.”
Olivarez added that in the Rio Grande Valley, as the weather cools, people are more likely to go outside and become targets of mosquitoes.
West Nile is the leading mosquito-borne disease in the United States, the release stated, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are currently no vaccines or medications to treat the disease but most infected individuals never show symptoms.
Roughly one in five people infected with West Nile will get sick, the release stated, and an estimated one in four people who get infected with Dengue will get sick. A severe form of Dengue can be life-threatening.
The most common symptoms of Dengue are fever, nausea, vomiting, rash, as well as aches and pains.
The county added that people must protect themselves from mosquitoes, suggesting the use of long-sleeved shirts and pants while outdoors and that they should avoid standing water.
Larvicide is available at local stores to treat yards, the county further stated, and they are working in conjunction with cities to begin treatment efforts.