Health
1:16 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

West Nile Virus Claims One Central Texan

The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department says one local person has died from the West Nile virus. It's the first reported case of death from the virus in Central Texas since 2003.

To date, a total of five people in the area have had the virus this year. One has fully recovered from it.

The virus is in the Travis County mosquito population and health officials say everyone should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

“Everyone is at risk for getting this and, fortunately, only a few will develop the severe illness but it is preventable and it can be deadly," Dr. Phil Huang, Medical Director of the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, says.

Huang says the outbreak is especially concerning because West Nile season doesn’t even typically begin until late summer. It lasts through early winter when colder weather kills off mosquitos.

Huang believes this year has been worse for West Nile simply because the mosquito population is larger because we had a mild winter and a wet spring and summer.