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West Nile Virus Fact Sheet

The Texas Department of State Health Services West Nile Information toll-free number 1-888-883-9997.

What is the City of Richardson doing to monitor West Nile Virus?
The City of Richardson Health Department has an established mosquito surveillance program in place to monitor mosquito populations in the community for the presence of West Nile Virus or other mosquito borne illnesses.

Using traps designed for mosquito collection, the staff of the Health Department regularly collect mosquito samples from approximately 30 geographically dispersed locations throughout the community. These samples are submitted to the Texas Department of State Health Services for analysis. The Health Department also works closely with the Dallas County Health Department to monitor for the incidence of mosquito borne illness in the human population. Mosquito control personnel from Dallas County also keep local health departments apprised of mosquito borne illnesses throughout the county through e-mails and other forms of communication. The Health Department also communicates with local health departments in neighboring communities.

What should I do if I find a dead bird?
The Health Department is no longer testing dead birds for West Nile Virus but rather is focusing the surveillance effort on the mosquito population. Citizens who find a dead bird should place the carcass in a plastic bag and dispose of it in their regular trash, taking care to avoid handling the carcass by using gloves or other means to pick up the carcass. Hands should be thoroughly washed afterwards. West Nile Virus is not transmitted by contact with the carcass and these precautions are appropriate for dealing with any animal carcass.

Can my pet contract West Nile Virus?
Although there is some evidence that other animals can contract West Nile Virus, horses seem to be most vulnerable. West Nile Virus is transmitted through mosquitoes that become infected while feeding on infected birds. Research is continuing on this virus and the impact on other animal populations.

How will I know if I have West Nile Virus?
Fortunately, most people who are exposed to this virus will experience no symptoms of illness or they may experience only mild flu-like illness, such as fever, muscle aches, stiffness in the neck, headache or swollen lymph glands. The incubation period typically ranges from 3 to 15 days. Only in rare cases does this virus cause serious illness. Although this illness can affect people at any age, it tends to be most severe in the elderly, the very young or those with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems. Persons experiencing severe symptoms should consult their personal physician promptly.

Helpful Links: 

www.cdc.gov
www.dshs.state.tx.us/

Last updated: 6/27/2012 9:49:21 AM