By Hannah Neumann
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District confirmed on Friday the first human case of the West Nile virus in the area this year.
Kelly Craine, public information officer and planner for the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, said an 18-year-old male from Riesel is the first human case of the virus in McLennan County since 2012.
Riesel is 15 miles east of Baylor.
Dr. Richard Duhrkopf, associate professor of biology who oversees mosquito-trapping studies in the area, told the Lariat on Aug. 27 Waco’s low rainfall this year contributed to the absence of the virus in humans and the small mosquito population.
The Waco area has experienced rainfall in the past week and will likely see more showers in the coming days, according to The Weather Channel’s website.
Dr. Sharon Stern, medical director of the Baylor Health Center, said the most common symptoms of West Nile virus are headaches, fever, sore throat, congestion and body aches.
“If a student is concerned they may be having symptoms of West Nile virus, they should see a doctor,” Stern said. “However, in about 60 to 80 percent of people infected there are no symptoms at all.”
Stern also said tips for prevention include removal of standing water, application of insect repellent and avoiding outdoor activity at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are the most active.
In a press release, The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District suggested the use of any mosquito repellent with the ingredient DEET and wearing protective clothing.