West Nile makes first appearance

County residents enjoyed a relatively uneventful year in 2016, dodging the brunt of most new and emerging illnesses that have made waves across much of the county in previous years. A case of West Nile Virus, among the most notorious of these illnesses, was not confirmed in Van Zandt County until a Sept. 17, 2016 report by the Texas Department of State Health Services last year.

Hopes that the county might best that outcome this year with no reported cases officially came to a close July 11 with the DSHS publishing a report confirming someone had tested positive for having the West Nile Virus. The local case is among eight confirmed cases statewide through the week ending July 7.

Other counties in the state of Texas with confirmed cases of West Nile include Collin, Cooke, El Paso, Montgomery, Panola, Tarrant and Val Verde Counties.

According to the DSHS, “West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne illness. Up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms. However, some infections can result in serious illness or death. People over 50 years of age and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they become infected with the virus.”

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