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According to the City of Lubbock Health Department, two different viruses, the St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLE) and the West Nile Virus (WNV), have been detected in mosquito virus screening samples collected in the Lubbock area for the first time this year.

Yearly mosquito screening samples collected from around the county are sent to the Vector-borne Zoonoses Laboratory at Texas Tech University, and that lab has notified the city of positive results for both the WNV and SLE viruses, which can be spread to people through an infected mosquito's bite.

According to an August 21, 2020 press release from the City of Lubbock Health Department:

Most people infected with these viruses have no apparent illness. Initial symptoms of those who become ill include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. Severe neuroinvasive disease (often involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) occurs more commonly in older adults. In rare cases, long-term disability or death can result. There are no vaccines to prevent nor medications to treat SLE or WNV. Care is based on symptoms. Patients with suspected infections should be evaluated by a healthcare provider, appropriate serologic and other diagnostic tests ordered, and supportive treatment provided.

Recommended steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitos include, wearing insect repellent, covering arms and legs with long sleeves and pants, keeping living areas free of the insects, and keeping standing water from collecting around round homes.

More information is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For information on SLE, click here. For information on WNV, click here.

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