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First Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed For The Season

EL PASO, Texas – The City of El Paso Department of Public Health announced today that the first West Nile Virus case of the season has been confirmed.

The patient is a man in his mid-40’s who had no reported travel outside of El Paso. The man lives in the East El Paso area and has underlying medical conditions. A total of six West Nile Virus cases were reported last season with the most recent case confirmed in the middle of January.

The City of El Paso Environmental Services Department continues its fogging efforts in order to control adult mosquitoes and will continue treating affected areas as the season continues.

“We want to remind residents that mosquitoes are not just a nuisance but are carriers for some serious diseases,” said Fernando Gonzalez, Lead Epidemiologist. “We need to be doing everything we can on a personal level to prevent mosquito bites and related disease such as West Nile, Zika, and Chikungunya.”

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 – Although mosquitoes associated with Zika can be active throughout the day, residents should take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours (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.

You can also mosquito-proof your home by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. To report standing water or mosquito breeding, please call 3-1-1.

Education

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.”

For more information on the programs and services we provide, please dial 2-1-1 or visit www.EPHealth.com

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