Tenth case of West Nile identified

MGN Online

Upper Valley man diagnosed with mosquito-borne virus

Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 5:31pm

The presence of the West Nile virus has been confirmed in a man who lives in El Paso’s Upper Valley. According to the City of El Paso Department of Public Health, he is the 10th confirmed case of the disease so far this year in the area. The 66-year-old resides within the 79932 zip code. At this time last year there were 24 confirmed cases and five deaths reported in El Paso.

Local Health Department officials continue to remind the public that mosquito prevention is the number one way to avoid contracting the disease. They say the start of the fall season is especially important when it comes to protecting yourself inside the home.

“Cooler temperatures lead many residents to open windows and doors as a way to circulate air into their homes and rely on screens to keep mosquitos out,” said Fernando Gonzalez, Lead Epidemiologist. “We need to make sure that there are no holes in the screens and that they are properly installed in order to ensure mosquitos cannot get in.”

The list of this year’s cases is shown below:

Case    Age     Gender     Zip Code
1         16 y/o       Male         79928
2          52 y/o     Female     79936
3         62 y/o      Female     79925
4         62 y/o      Female     79932
5         63 y/o      Female     79924
6         70 y/o      Female     79922
7         48 y/o      Female     79924
8         59 y/o      Female     79928
9         48 y/o      Male          79915
10       66 y/o      Male          79932 (new)

Local residents are also being asked to practice the four Ds in order to prevent the mosquito bites that transfer the disease:

• Use insect repellents that contain DEET
• Drain any standing water
• Dress in long, loose and light-colored clothing and
• Take extra care to avoid the outdoor and to use repellent and protective clothing from Dusk to Dawn.

To report large areas of standing water or areas suspected of mosquito breeding, call Environmental Services at (915) 3-1-1.

Symptoms
• About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness which can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

• Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

• No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

For more information on West Nile virus, please visit the Health Department website at www.EPHealth.com and click on the West Nile Virus link.

Education
In effort to increase awareness about the disease and ways the public can protect themselves, the Department has added a West Nile virus session to the list of presentations offered by the Speakers Bureau. Local civic and community organizations can schedule a presentation that will include background on the disease, prevention methods, as well as what people can look out for in regards to signs and symptoms of infection. Presentations can be scheduled by visiting www.EPHealth.com, and then clicking on the Speakers Bureau link under Special Projects.

The mission of the El Paso Department of Public Health is to work in partnership with people in our community to promote and protect the health of the borderland. For more information on the programs and services offered by the Department of Public Health, visit EPHealth.com or call 2-1-1.

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