The Zika virus has declined significantly with 80 reported cases in Texas in July 2016 to only three reported in the state this month.
But just because the numbers have decreased doesn’t mean you shouldn't use caution when it comes to mosquitoes.
“The Zika virus is primarily spread to people through mosquito bites. The virus can be spread from mother to child,” the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) website reads. “Spread of the virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact has also been reported.”
As of July 17, there was one case of Zika reported in Collin County and two cases in Williamson County. All were associated with travel.
The TDSHS has updated its Zika testing guidelines and urges Texas residents to use caution against mosquitoes, especially women who are pregnant or may become pregnant.
There have also been only three reported cases of West Nile recently in Austin, Dallas and Galveston.
“People can be infected by West Nile virus through the bite of an infected mosquito. Last year, Texas reported 135 cases of West Nile illness that resulted in six deaths,” the TDSHS reported. “There have been more than 3,500 illnesses and 167 deaths in Texas over the last 10 years.”
To protect yourself, here are a few preventive measures:
• Regularly apply EPA-registered insect repellent while outdoors
• Dump all standing water inside and outside homes and businesses so mosquitoes don’t lay eggs
• Use air conditioning or make sure window and door screens are in good repair to keep mosquitoes out
• Cover up with long sleeves and long pants to help prevent bites.
Most people who get infected with West Nile virus don’t get sick. About 20 percent develop West Nile fever, a fever that can be accompanied by headache, muscle and joint aches, nausea, diarrhea and fatigue.
People with this form of disease usually recover on their own, though symptoms may last for several weeks.
The city of Stephenville always prepares for mosquito season.
“The city will do larvacide with mosquito dunks and briquettes in areas that have pooling or stagnant water,” Jeremy Allen, director of community services, said in a previous interview. “They’re just little donut things we place in the water that are harmless to birds, fish, wildlife and pets. This will help eliminate mosquito breeding in these highly dense areas.”
If Stephenville residents spot areas of standing water, they are encouraged to contact Parks Superintendent Jesus Coronado at 254-918-1239.