Patient at Sugar Land hospital tests positive for West Nile virus, health officials say

SUGAR LAND, Texas — A patient has tested positive for West Nile virus at a Sugar Land hospital, Fort Bend County Health and Human Service officials announced Friday.

In response, city leaders have increased mosquito spraying to twice per week citywide as a precaution.

The health department is also working closely with the Texas Department of State Health Services to trap and test mosquitoes for the presence of the virus.

Health officials urge residents to take precaution to reduce West Nile exposure.

“Residents should use insect repellent whenever they are outdoors and avoid going outside at dusk and dawn,” Dr. Joe Anzaldua said. “People over 50 years old and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if infected with the virus.  If people have symptoms that cause them concern, they should contact their healthcare provider immediately.”

As of Friday, health officials confirm no mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus since the week of Aug. 10.

There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection. Symptoms may include a stiff neck, vision problems, body tremors, mental confusion, memory loss and seizures.

The milder form of the illness is West Nile fever. Symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle and bone aches, nausea and drowsiness. People with the milder form of the illness typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks.

Up to 80% of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms and will recover on their own. Anyone with questions or concerns should contact their doctor.

The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends practicing the “Four Ds” as precautionary measures:

  • Use insect repellent 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.