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Stamford, Conn. – September 20, 2012 – AmeriCares is sending OFF! to Texas to combat the worst West Nile outbreak in U.S. history. More than 3,100 cases of West Nile have been reported and 134 people died of the mosquito-borne illness this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 40 percent of all reported cases in the U.S. occurred in Texas.
The insect repellent, OFF!, donated by SC Johnson, will be distributed by AmeriCares partner organizations serving the poor and uninsured in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area including Union Gospel Mission Clinic of Tarrant County, the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas County, and the Mission Arlington Medical Clinic in Tarrant County. While 80 percent of people infected with West Nile may remain symptom-free, the rest can develop headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting and rash. A few suffer severe consequences such as permanent neurological damage, coma or death. The CDC recommends the use of insect repellent with an EPA-registered active ingredient to protect against the disease.
“Mosquito repellent is key to preventing West Nile, which can be fatal,” said AmeriCares Emergency Response Manager Kate Dischino. “We are working with partner organizations to make sure we get the donated product into the hands of the poorest and most vulnerable Texans, including the homeless, who face increased risk of becoming infected with the virus living outdoors.”
In addition to responding to emergencies and disease outbreaks all over the world, AmeriCares supports 400 free clinics and community health centers in the U.S with donated medicines and medical supplies. Last year alone, AmeriCares U.S. Medical Assistance Program delivered more than 1,500 aid shipments to health care facilities serving the poor and uninsured all across the country.