June 26 (UPI) – Ten people in Miami tested positive for West Nile disease, and the virus was also detected in Texas and Illinois this week as health officials launched alerts for the mosquito-borne disease.
The largest outbreak was reported Thursday in Miami-Dade County, Florida, where the Florida Department of Health ad it had detected 10 new cases of West Nile infection and issued an alert to mosquito-borne diseases.
The latest cases have brought the total number of infections in Miami-Dade to 14 so far this year.
Health officials have urged residents to drain standing water where mosquitoes breed, such as trash cans, gutters, buckets and pool covers. They also advised people to cover the skin with clothing or a chemical repellant such as DEET, picaridine, lemon eucalyptus oil.
Texas health officials say two mosquito samples were taken in Houston’s suburb of The Woodlands tested positive for West Nile virus.
Residents were also advised to wear insect repellents, remove standing water, and wear loose, long-sleeved clothing.
Positive samples from West Nile have also been reported in Denton, Texas, about 40 miles northwest of Dallas. It was the city’s second positive sample this year.
In Illinois, health officials found West Nile virus in mosquitoes sampled in the suburb of Glencoe, about 20 miles north of Chicago.
Positive samples were recorded earlier this year at nearby Evanston and Lincolnwood.
West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States and is most often spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There are no preventable vaccines or drugs to treat West Nile infections in humans.
Most people infected with West Nile virus do not feel sick and only 1 in 5 people develop fever and other symptoms such as headache, pain and fatigue. Less than 1% of those infected develop a serious, sometimes fatal, disease.
People over the age of 60 and people with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of contracting the severe form of the disease.