First human case of West Nile in Cameron County

It was early Monday morning when Cameron County officials received word of the first confirmed case of West Nile in a human.

A teen, officials said, contracted West Nile Fever, sometime in September.

The teen survived the milder form of the virus.

Department of State Health services officials said due to patient confidentiality, they could not confirm where in the county the teen lives, but Dr. Laura Robinson said this should keep everyone in the area on high alert.

"The fact that we've had confirmed mosquito (cases) in the eastern part of county, two confirmed cases in the central part of the county - basically West Nile is out there circulating among the birds and mosquitoes."

Officials said they expect the threat of West Nile to continue in the Valley for longer than in other parts of the state - possibly up to two months longer - due to the warmer temperature in the area.

There was a dip in temperature Monday, but Robinson said a one day break from the heat would not completely eliminate mosquitoes.

"We know that the warmer the temperatures, the better the virus will grow in a mosquito and the better the mosquito grows, Robinson said. Studies indicate that the average daily temperature needs to be below 70 degrees in order to reduce or stop the transmission."

Two horses also contracted West Nile in the county. Robinson said West Nile can be a severe disease to horses.

One of the horses had to be euthanized.

When West Nile first struck the country about a decade ago, over 1,700 cases were confirmed in horses.

Robinson adds mosquitoes will be around for a while longer and people need to protect themselves and their animals.

"A vaccine for horses was developed back then, and it's recommend that in areas where there TMs mosquitoes and West Nile transmissions that the horses be vaccinated," Robinson said.