New West Nile Cases Brings Total to Seven so far this Year
More rain increases threat to area residents
The confirmation of four women having contracted the West Nile virus bring the total to seven case of the disease in El Paso so far this year. The City of El Paso Department of Public Health says a 62-year-old woman who lives within the 79932 zip code is confirmed to have been infected. Two more cases were confirmed in women, ages 63, and 48, who both live in the 79924 zip code. A 70-year-old woman from the 79922 zip code has also shown to have acquired the disease.
This time last year there were 18 confirmed cases in El Paso. While the number of West Nile cases remains relatively low, health officials are reminding residents that last year the disease began to appear in August and September, and continued through the month of December.
“Our residents should not assume that because our numbers are low right now, that the threat of the disease doesn’t exist,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “What it could mean is that we are just now beginning to see the disease rear its ugly head” he added.
The list of this year’s cases is shown below:
With the city’s current rainy weather, residents are reminded to avoid creating mosquito breeding conditions in and around their homes, and to practice the four Ds in order to prevent mosquito bites that can 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.
• 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.
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.