Fort Worth, Texas,
14:45 PM

Tarrant County Reports First West Nile Virus-associated Death of 2017

Death involves a senior adult with underlying medical conditions.

Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) reported today the first West Nile Virus-associated death of the 2017 season. The death involved a senior adult with underlying medical conditions. Additional details are not being released due to privacy laws.

Last year, TCPH reported two associated deaths for the season. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016 there were:

  • 354 human West Nile Virus cases in Texas
  • North Texas accounted for the most WNV cases in the state
  • Dallas county had 61 WNV cases, more than any other county in Texas
  • Tarrant County had 44, the second largest number of WNV cases in the state
  • The number of cases peaked in August

West Nile Virus can affect anyone, although people age 50 and older run a higher risk of developing a severe infection.

About 20 percent of infected people will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash.

Most people with this type of the disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues. The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis.

“West Nile Virus infection is found in local mosquitoes. It is acquired from mosquito bites and not from infected people," said Mary Suzanne Whitworth, M.D., medical director of Infectious Diseases at Cook Children's. "Most children who are infected with this virus do not develop symptoms. It has been circulating in mosquitoes in the United States for many years and is not new."

Precautions to take

With heightened concerns of mosquito-borne illness, Tarrant County Public Health and County officials are asking for help to protect their community from mosquitoes.

The Tarrant County “Be Mosquito Free” campaign hopes to eradicate mosquitoes through taking simple precautions such as:

  • Wearing long sleeves and pants
  • Dumping standing water
  • Using EPA-approved insect repellent
  • Keeping vegetation trimmed

TCPH’s video Mosquitoes Love Water has NEW tips to show residents how to take control of their property and help protect their neighbors. You can also view the following videos: Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Sites and Barrier Treatments to Prevent Mosquitoes.

Other resources:



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