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Houston child contracts West Nile virus: report

08-25-2012 04:55 BJT

HOUSTON, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- A young child was confirmed to have contracted the West Nile virus in Houston, the largest city in the U.S. state of Texas that was hit hard in the latest outbreak of the mosquito-transmitted disease, local media reported on Friday.

According to a report by The Houston Chronicle, the child belongs to the 0-14 age group and lives in Fort Bend County. The report didn't reveal the identity, exact age or gender of the child, but noted that the child has now been released from hospital and is expected to fully recover.

The case caught the attention of media and medical experts as it was widely believed that the West Nile virus, first discovered in Uganda in 1937, usually hits those who are over 50 years old.

The report added that a resident aged 35 to 44 in Sugarland, a city to the southwest of Houston, also contracted the virus and is now recovering in hospital.

So far dozens of West Nile virus infections have been recorded in the Houston area, causing four deaths. The recent outbreak of the disease, said to be the largest ever seen in the United States, has already infected 1,120 people and killed 43 of them across the country.

As the worst-hit state, Texas has reported 641 cases with 24 deaths.

In a related development, Texarkana, another Texas city, has declared a state of emergency as a result of the rapid increase of infection cases.

The state of emergency, declared on Thursday night, allows the city to begin immediate spraying for mosquito extermination. The spraying reportedly began at 10 p.m. local time Thursday.

The West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999, and more than 30,000 people in the country have since been infected. The mosquito-borne illness can lead to serious neurological disease in some cases, and its symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, nausea, dizziness and muscle weakness.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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