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Dallas County Reports First West Nile Virus Death of 2016

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A Carrollton resident is the first person in Dallas County to die from the West Nile virus in 2016, Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed Monday afternoon. The name and gender of the victim, who was more than 60 years old, will not be disclosed for "medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons," according to DCHHS.

While the newly emergent Zika virus has received much of the media and public attention during the 2016 mosquito season, Dallas County health officials still view West Nile — which is passed from infected birds to humans through mosquitos — as a bigger threat to the potential health of Dallas County residents.

"As far as we're concerned, the West Nile virus is still public enemy No. 1," DCHHS director Zach Thompson said in late June.

Symptoms of a West Nile Infection can typically include headaches, muscle aches and a fever. In severe cases, West Nile can result in encephalitis, or swelling of the brain and, in the most serious cases, death.

To limit one's chances of catching either Zika or West Nile, DCHHS recommends that Dallas County residents follow the four D's:

· DEET All Day, Every Day: Whenever you’re outside, use insect repellents that contain DEET or other EPA approved repellents and follow instructions.
· Dress: Wear long, loose, and light-colored clothing outside.
· Drain: Drain or treat all standing water in and around your home or workplace.
· Dusk & Dawn: Limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

So far, Dallas County has seen 17 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in 2016. Last year, the county suffered 23 cases. As it has throughout mosquito season, the county will continuing to spray in an attempt to eradicate West Nile-infected mosquitoes.

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