The Department of Public Health has confirmed that three more people have contracted the West Nile virus in El Paso this year. The most recent confirmed cases involve an elderly man and woman who both live in the central part of the city as well as an elderly man from the Mission Valley.
The number of West Nile virus-related deaths in El Paso this year remains at two. Health officials make this announcement along with a reminder that this weekend’s warm and rainy weather is likely to create breeding conditions for mosquitoes.
Residents can mosquito-proof homes by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
The City’s Vector Control Program is also continuing its proactive fogging and treatment of areas of concern. They actively monitor reservoirs, drains, inactive pools, and investigate citizen’s complaints of potential mosquito infestations.
Residents may call 3-1-1 to report any standing water or areas of concern.
They fear more mosquitoes, which spread the disease, could increase the current number of cases of West Nile virus in our area.
The following is a list of cases confirmed in El Paso so far this season.
The best way to avoid exposure to mosquito-borne diseases is to practice the “four Ds”:
- 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.
- DRAIN– Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around and outside your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.
In effort to increase awareness about the disease and ways the public can protect themselves, the Department of Public Health 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 clicking on “Special Projects.”
The efforts and services offered by the Department of Public Health support the City of El Paso’s strategic goal to nurture and promote a healthy, sustainable community. For more information on the programs and services offered by the Department, please visit www.EPHealth.com or dial 2-1-1.
Author: El Paso Department of Public Health