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Protecting Kids from West Nile

Now that school is back in session, concerns about kids contracting the West Nile Virus are on the rise.
The death of a 75-year-old Montague County man has been reported to the State as a suspected case of West Nile Virus.

Officials there are now waiting for confirmation, but that coupled with the cases already being reported in the State of Texas, and mosquitoes locally that have tested positive has some parents concerned about the danger toward their kids.

The Virus is widespread throughout Texas this year, and Wichita Falls isn't immune.

In five different parts of the City, officials said they've found mosquitoes which have tested positive for the virus.

"I would say anyplace in the city has mosquitoes with West Nile Virus," said Susan Morris with the Wichita Falls Environmental Health Division.

Morris said the times of day when mosquitoes are most active, dawn and dusk, are also the times when kids are now either going to school or participating in after-school activities.

"That is a really good time for mosquitoes, when the winds are calm, and people are out," said Morris, "the mosquitoes like the same temperatures we like and they like to be comfortable."

Typically, West Nile affects the elderly and people with an under-lying medical condition, but Morris said this isn't your typical year.

"So while children aren't in the demographic that you typically seen in West Nile Virus, we're still seeing it," she explained, "so everybody should just be cautious and use appropriate protection."

Appropriate protection means long sleeves and long pants, and of course bug spray.

"Whether you decide to use a bug spray without DEET or one with DEET, experts said the important thing to remember is to put it on the outside of your clothing."

"Don't ever put it under your clothing, put it on top of your clothing," said Morris, "use some common sense and apply it appropriately."

Morris said by reading the labels on their bug spray, consumers will be better informed about how to use it.

And just like any battle, the more knowledge you have, the more likely you'll be to come out on top.

Reporters notes by Ryan Robertson:

Experts said mosquitoes usually rest in grassy areas and are attracted to lights, so as the Friday night football season gets underway, fans in the stands should also think about protecting themselves from mosquitoes.
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