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State aims to speed information on West Nile cases

State aims to speed information on West Nile cases

POSTED: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 12:33pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 12:44pm

Amid the state’s deadliest outbreak of West Nile virus, public health officials participating in a Tyler news conference Tuesday conceded the state must act faster to release information about confirmed cases.

The six-person panel also urged residents to take precautions to reduce the risk of contracting the mosquito-borne illness that has killed 21 people this year.

Dr. Paul McGaha, regional director of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said there is a concern about the time delay from when a lab test confirms a case of West Nile and when state health department officials make the information public. That time lag can be days, if not weeks, in some cases.

In a Gregg County case, a man died from the West Nile virus July 25 in a Shreveport hospital. McGaha released the information to the News-Journal on Aug. 17.

The death was not posted on the Texas Department of State Health Services’ website until later that afternoon.

Read more from the Longview News-Journal.

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