BRYAN, TX — At the newly renovated Sue Haswell Park, families and children have come to enjoy the fresh air and new amenities the park has to offer. However some community members who didn't think twice before leaving their homes are doing so now.
The Brazos County Health District has confirmed two cases of mosquito-related disease in Brazos County with the Texas Department of State Health Service.
”It definitely makes it, I guess I didn’t realize even before coming here, it makes you want to think twice before leaving without repellent,” said Johanna Rape, a resident of Bryan.
Insect repellent is the best way to protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne viruses. With the pandemic still circulating, park goers are concerned for their health with the similarities in symptoms.
”Definitely a scary thing especially since some of the symptoms are similar to COVID symptoms, so you could potentially have a West Nile infection," said Ana Ortega, who was born and raised in Bryan.
Medication or treatment cannot be provided to someone infected, so protecting those most vulnerable is very important.
”Yeah, it’s definitely something, once you have the information, it’s always something that you need to take into thought for your own health and make sure that the children don’t get it,” said Rape.
In today's time, health is wealth. Dr. Seth Sullivan, infectious disease physician and alternate health authority of Brazos County, says not to fear but residents of the Brazos Valley should take extra precautions in highly attractable areas.
”I think the primary and chief consideration here is prevention mosquito prevention. We know that mosquitoes prevent, or rather transmit illness, and so by preventing mosquito bites. we can prevent the illness,” he said.
Health authorities are recommending people follow the 4D’s is how the health district suggests the best protection. According to the Oklahoma City-Council Health Department, those steps are:
- DRAIN standing water on your property so mosquitoes won’t breed
- Use insect repellant that contains DEET on your clothes
- Stay indoors at DUSK and DAWN when mosquitos are most prevalent
- DRESS in long sleeves and pants and spray repellant on your clothes.
Residents like Rape are taking those rules into consideration.
”Yeah, it’ll affect how we come out, make sure we’re wearing protection, wearing the light flowy clothing now, now that we know,” she said.
Authorities say to be aware on your next visit to a park, be sure to wear EPA registered repellent and refrain from sitting near stagnant water.
About 20% percent of people who get the West Nile Virus can develop symptoms such as headaches, joint pain and nausea. A smaller percentage of cases have seen sever effects to the body even leading to death.
Texas has reported over 3,000 thousand West Nile cases in the last 10 years and 172 deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health and Services.