While there have not yet been any confirmed cases in Abilene, diagnosing and confirming a case can be both tedious and expensive.
That's because doctors must analyze the severity of a patient's symptoms and then confirm their diagnoses either through a blood test, or a spinal fluid test to be sure the illness is West Nile.
"You make the diagnoses with the symptom complex during the season of West Nile," explains Dr. Zane Travis, Medical Director at Abilene Taylor County Health District. "If I tell you I've been outside working in the yard and I know I was bitten by mosquitoes, I come in and say 'I have a fever, I've got a headache and I really feel bad.' Then, you need to suspect West Nile fever. "
Dr. Travis reminds folks to wear light-colored clothing when outside, wear mosquito repellent containing deet and avoid being outside too long around dusk since that's when mosquitoes are out the most.