Two human cases of West Nile Virus have been confirmed in Gregg County, according to the Northeast Texas Public Health District.
“We knew this person had West Nile. We knew that he was hospitalized,” he said.
But he said August is the peak season for West Nile infection, and there should be a downturn in the number of exposures after a couple more weeks, as days get cooler and shorter.
In the meantime, health officials encouraged residents to take preventative measures.
Texas Department of State Health Services spokesman Chris Van Deusen said the best thing is for people to do what they can not to be bitten by a mosquito.
Because mosquitoes, which carry the virus, lay eggs in standing, stagnant water, he said residents can dump out water, use insect repellant and avoid being outside at dawn or dusk.
He also suggested they wear long sleeves outside when they can and to make sure screen doors don't have holes where mosquitoes can get into their home.
If a person does contract the virus, it takes a couple of weeks to grow so most people don't have symptoms, Hopkins said.
Van Deusen said about 80 percent of people who contract the virus won't get sick, and about 20 percent will have a milder form such as West Nile fever that usually is not life-threatening.
Hopkins also noted that it may take a month from the time the person is exposed to the time they're confirmed.
For more information on West Nile prevention and the number of confirmed cases, visit the Northeast Texas Public Health District website, www.healthyeasttx.org.