Mosquitoes are a common and irksome sight throughout Texas. Aside from irritating bites, these insects also pose a health risk to humans and animals through the transmission of diseases like the West Nile virus, Zika virus and the Chikungunya virus. Mosquitoes are present in Texas all year long, but are most active during the summer months. Outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses vary each year. Therefore, it is important to remain informed about possible mosquito-borne illnesses in Texas and the current level of outbreak in your area. Remember always take the necessary precautions to limit your exposure to mosquitoes and prevent bites.
West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus is a serious concern in the state of Texas. Most individuals infected with West Nile virus never display symptoms. However, approximately 1 in 5 infected individuals will experience generally non-life threatening symptoms like headaches, fever, joint pain, and a rash. Less than 1% of infected individuals suffer from a serious, sometimes fatal, neurological illness because of West Nile virus. For more information about the symptoms and treatment of West Nile virus, please visit the CDC webpage.
Zika virus is primarily spread though the bite of infected mosquitos. Common symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. Most people contracting Zika virus will have mild or no symptoms. Illness generally lasts a few days to a week. Although uncommon, there have been serious cases requiring hospitalization. Expectant mothers infected with Zika can also pass the virus to their fetus during pregnancy. For more information about the Zika virus, please visit the DSHS Zika website.
Originally contained within the Caribbean, Texas has confirmed a human case of the Chikungunya virus. The disease is generally not fatal but does cause fever, joint pain and swelling, headaches, muscle pain, and a rash in most infected individuals. Symptoms usually develop within 3-7 days of being infected. The mosquitoes that spread Chikungunya are most active during the day, as opposed to dawn and dusk. Therefore, it is important to take precautions against mosquito bites all day long, not just at certain times.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following courses of actions to limit your exposure to mosquito-borne diseases:
Additional information on mosquito-borne illnesses and prevention guidance available at: