West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). It was first isolated in an adult woman in the West Nile Valley of Uganda in 1937. WNV caused an outbreak in elderly patients in Israel in 1957 and equine disease in Egypt and France in the early 1960s.The virus first appeared in North America in 1999, causing human death in New York City. In July of 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a grant to the Houston Department of Health and Human Services under the umbrella of “Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) for Infectious Diseases” to conduct sero-surveillance of WNV in Houston. The HDHHS Bureau of Epidemiology and Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services are collaborative partners in an initiative to expand WNV surveillance activities to non-Houston areas of Harris County. West Nile encephalitis could occur year round in southern climates, while in the north, the cases occur primarily in late summer or early fall.
If you have any questions please contact the Bureau of Epidemiology at (832) 393-5080.
- West Nile Virus Infection Questions and Answers
- West Nile Virus cases and statistics – 2012
- West Nile Virus cases and statistics – 2011
- West Nile Virus cases and statistics – 2010
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about West Nile Virus – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Dead bird pick-up: Call Harris County Mosquito Control at 713-440-4800.
- Mosquito spraying: Call Harris County Mosquito Control at 713-440-4800.
- USGS Texas Map of Confirmed Cumulative Human Disease Cases by Local Jurisdiction
- Information from the Center for the Study of Emerging Infections