Update: West Nile worries exist as big batch of mosquitoes expected in Abilene

City gives tips to protect against virus

City expects mosquito population to increase, how you can protect yourself from the West Nile Virus

ABILENE, Texas - Higher temperatures after recent rains has resulted in more mosquitoes – many more.

And some mosquitoes recently trapped in Abilene tested positive for the West Nile virus.

City of Abilene officials plan to spray for the mosquitoes this week in the northeast part of town around Judge Ely Blvd., Ambler Ave., EN 10th Street and Cedar Creek (mainly the ACU area), where the infected mosquitoes were collected. This will happen as long as the weather remains dry with low humidity.

"The next planned spray time is 4:30 a.m. Wednesday," city spokeswoman Leah Mazzarelli said, noting a planned spray was called off Monday because of weather conditions.  "It will all depend on weather."

This year the city is expecting more cases of the West Nile virus to arise in Abilene compared to three human cases confirmed last year. The city is urging residents to do their part in combating the spread of the virus.

"Stay inside most of the time when they're out and try to keep all the water emptied," Weldon Norris said.

"At work we use a lot of bug spray," Myke Dorgan said. "A lot of mosquito repellant and some of the guys have the mosquito nets that go on their hard hat and that's what we're doing at work."

These are just a few of the things people around town are doing to prevent mosquito bites. The city wants to help people prepare for the worst.

"Many people just have a lot of flu like symptoms, but some people become unconscious, having encephalitis, a severe headache and have to be hospitalized," Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District Dr. Zane Travis said.

Unfortunately, there's no cure for the disease but the symptoms can be treated and there are some steps people can take to prevent infection.

"You've just got to use mosquito Deet, cover up, stay away during dawn and dusk," Travis said. "Drain your water."

The West Nile virus is known to attack the nervous system. The virus is not contagious but there is the threat of long-term effects.

"If you feel pretty bad, you need to go to your doctor," Travis said. "It's good to know if you have it or not. A test is a blood test or in serious cases a spinal fluid test, so your doctor can see if you have it."

The city is expecting a fresh batch of mosquitoes as early as Monday.

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