Health/Science
7:47 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

West Nile Exits: Flu Season Enters

The deadliest West Nile season in North Texas is coming to an end. In Tarrant County, environmental health manager David Jefferson says the numbers of human cases and infected mosquitoes have dropped significantly.

“We’ve only had two or three cases in September in Tarrant County. So basically, it’s just about gone," said Jefferson. "We can’t say it’s completely gone because we have had those two or three cases in September. But, we’re seeing very, very little of it in the mosquitoes whatsoever.”

Jefferson says they’ve found only one West Nile infected mosquito pool in the past two weeks. He says the Watauga man identified Monday as the county’s 9th West Nile death actually contracted the virus in early August.

October's cooler weather is also decreasing the mosquito population. And it signals the beginning of flu season. State health officials are urging Texans to get a flu shot.

Chris Van Deusen, with the Department of State Health Services says last year’s vaccine is not likely to offer any lingering protection this year. Two of the three viruses in the 2012 vaccine are new.

“While vaccine immunity does wane over time, there will be some ongoing immunity even from a previous year’s shot. However, with two of the three viruses changing this year, that won’t necessarily be the case. So, it just may be another reason to encourage people to get a flu shot this year.”

The flu vaccine is reformulated each year to match the expected flu ‘bugs’ researchers expect to be circulating. This year it’s the H1N1, A/Victoria, or H3N2, and the B/Wisconsin.

Flu season runs from October through May.