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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 11:59am

First case of West Nile confirmed in El Paso

MGN Online
Monday, August 11, 2014 - 5:16pm

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health confirmed the first El Paso area case of West Nile Virus in 2014 Monday afternoon.

The man who contracted the virus was identified as a middle-aged man with underlying health conditions who lives in the 79927 zip code in Socorro. The man is currently hospitalized in an El Paso area hospital and is said to be recovering.

El Paso County had sixteen cases of West Nile Virus in 2013, with the first confirmed case in late August. Two people died as a result of the virus in 2013. The last confirmed case of WNV was in November of last year.

“Historically for El Paso, August is the month in which first cases appear in our region.
Continued rain and warm weather is ideal for mosquito breeding,” said Fernando Gonzalez,
Lead Epidemiologist.
 

In light of this recently confirmed case, Health Department officials are urging residents to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease in El Paso. The best way to avoid exposure to West Nile virus is to practice the “four Ds”:
Avoid Mosquito Bites

  • DEET - Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection. To optimize safety and effectiveness,repellents should be used according to the label instructions.
     
  • DRESS - When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection. Don't apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Rather,spray permethrin-containing products only on clothing.
     
  • DUSK and DAWN - Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.

Most people don't exhibit signs of the West Nile virus, about 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as a headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of WNV recover completely but the side effects such as fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

For more information on West Nile virus, please visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factSheet.htm.

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