News Release

September 13, 2002

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

Second West Nile Virus Death in Houston

A 96-year-old Houston man is believed to be the second person in Texas to die from West Nile virus infection. The man was admitted to a local hospital on September 3 and passed away on September 6, 2002.

The West Nile virus was discovered in area birds in early June of this year. The first human cases were identified in July. There have been 56 probable and confirmed cases of West Nile virus infection in Houston and Harris County.

The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. The Culex mosquito is believed to be the primary carrier of the West Nile virus. The Culex is a night feeder and is most active from dusk to dawn.

Area residents are strongly encouraged to reduce mosquito breeding grounds by removing standing water from their property and reducing litter and yard waste which may enter the storm sewer system. Residents should keep doors and windows closed and seal other gaps where the Culex could enter homes and feed on sleeping people.

If outdoors from dusk to dawn, residents are encouraged to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts and use an insect repellent which contains the active ingredient DEET.

Daily updates on the number of local West Nile virus cases are available at www.houstonhealth.org.

- end -