Photo courtesy UTEP
The City of El Paso Department of Public Health has been notified that one of several mosquito pools collected here have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
“When it comes to West Nile virus it is never really a question of ‘if’ we can expect to see the disease locally, but rather ‘when”, said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “What we can do is be proactive against being bitten and be aware that there are other diseases that could present themselves in El Paso.”
The Vector Control Program with the Environmental Services Department has been setting traps this season since May. The mosquito pool that tested positive was located in the central part of town within the 79903 zip code.
In years past, human cases of diseases like Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika virus have been seen in El Paso but in travel-associated cases only. El Paso has yet to see a locally acquired case of these diseases. When it comes to West Nile, there have been no cases reported this season, but a total of 14 human cases were confirmed locally last year.
As we continue to see sporadic rains in the area, residents are reminded that it only takes a teaspoon of water to create breeding conditions around your home.
El Pasoans are urged to “Tip and Toss” items outside their homes frequently, to prevent stagnant water which could result in mosquito breeding. Residents should also follow these tips.
- DEET – Use insect repellents that contain DEET when outdoors.
- DRESS – Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors.
- 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 – Drain standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, and birdbaths.