West Nile turning up in unexpected places

Reported by: Henry Ramos
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Updated: 9/07/2012 10:58 pm

As the number of reported West Nile cases in our area continue to rise, the virus is now popping up in some unexpected places.

Texas blood banks are seeing healthy blood donors testing positive for the West Nile virus, including right here in Lubbock.

The number of reported West Nile cases in Lubbock County is eight, five of those are the more serious neuroinvasive form of the illness, while three are categorized as West Nile fever case, which often involve flu-like symptoms.

Experts say up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms and will recover on their own. Lubbock United Blood Services has seen some blood donors test positive for the virus.

Spokesman Les Long said those have been in recent months and a number of donors never show any symptoms.

"Part of every donation that comes through it is tested through nucleic acid testing for everything that could be tested to a patient, so you can rest assure that it is a safe blood supply," he said.

Long said they go through 110-to-140 blood units a day. Each blood donation is shipped for overnight testing. He said that's when the donor will be notified.

"They are going to be confidentially notified, and that blood is going to be destroyed," Long said. It wont be transfused in anyone just like hepatitis blood when it is tested."

This trend also applying to South Texas Blood and Tissue centers in San Antonio, recently they have seen seven West Nile cases from blood donors.

Now again to protect yourself just remember the four D's:

  • Use insect repellent containing Deet
  • Dress in long sleeves and long pants when you are outside
  • Stay indoors at dusk and dawn,
  • Drain standing water where mosquitoes breed

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