By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Health officials in El Paso, Texas are reporting two West Nile virus (WNV) related fatalities recently. The patients are a woman in her early 50’s and a man in his early 80’s. Both had underlying conditions.
This is the first time a WNV death has been recorded in the city in four years.
To date, city health officials say seven human WNV cases have been confirmed.
“It has been four years since our City has seen a West Nile-related death and this news is hard to report,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “We extend our condolences to these individuals’ loved-ones and remind the community to prevent mosquito breeding and mosquito bites as a way to help prevent this disease.”
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Most people exposed to the virus don’t get sick, but about 20 percent develop symptoms like headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue. In a very small proportion, less than one percent, the virus affects the nervous system, leading to a more serious illness that can cause neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and even death.
The Texas Department of State Health Services urges people to declare WAR on mosquitoes to protect themselves and their families from West Nile and other diseases spread by mosquitoes.
- WEAR long sleeves and pants. Create a barrier to mosquito bites by covering up.
- APPLY insect repellent. Use EPA-registered repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus/p-menthane-diol.
- REMOVE standing water. Dumping out water that accumulates in toys, tires, trash cans, buckets, clogged rain gutters and plant pots will deny mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs and reproduce.
People should also keep mosquitoes out of their homes by using air conditioning and making sure window and door screens are in good repair. DSHS urges people with West Nile symptoms to contact their health care provider and mention any exposure to mosquitoes.
There were 146 cases of West Nile disease, including 11 deaths, in Texas last year.
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