(August 23, 2012)—Nearly 40 cases of West Nile Virus have now been confirmed in Central Texas.
The Waco McLennan County Health District said Thursday it has confirmed seven more cases of the virus, which increases the total to 29.
An elderly resident has died of the virus.
Cases have been reported in the 76704, 76705, 76707, 76708, 76710, 76711, 76712, 76657, and 76624 Zip Code areas, officials said Thursday.
The Bell County Public Health District reported seven additional cases, increasing the total to 10 with one death.
Five of those infected with the virus are in the hospital including a 2-year-old girl who was transferred from Seaton Hospital in Killeen to Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin.
The other four patients are older than 50, health officials said.
All five have symptoms of the more serious neuroinvasive form of the disease.
"We expected to see a jump in cases since hospitals are now more aware and have been testing more often if they see the symptoms," said Lacey Sanders of the Bell County Public Health District.
Statewide at least 28 people have died from the virus so far this year.
Elderly and people with compromised immune systems are at a greater risk for severe complications.
Symptoms include fever, severe headaches, confusion, disorientation, and muscle weakness.
To help prevent the virus the Health District recommends eliminating any standing water that may provide a place for mosquitoes to breed and staying inside in the late evening and early morning hours when mosquitoes feed.
Those who plan to be outside should wear long sleeves and long pants and should use a repellent that contains DEET.