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Borderland residents urged to beware of West Nile virus

Updated: Monday, July 22 2013, 01:32 PM MDT

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- Rainfall, floods and hot temperatures are three things the borderland has been seeing a lot of lately.  It means bust out your bug spray because mosquitoes are swarming around us. 


AnaLee Delacerda lives in the Upper Valley near the Rio Grande and says she's been seeing a lot of mosquitoes lately. 
"I run and I walk. I'm more likely to get bit when I walk," said DeLacerda.

The problem is mosquitoes carry West Nile virus, a potentially deadly disease. Last year, 282 people in the U.S. died from West Nile virus. Texas is one of the hardest-hit states, and El Paso is no exception. 
"Last year we had 32 cases, six of them died," said Fernando Gonzalez, El Paso Department of Public Health. 

So far this year, there are no reported cases of West Nile virus in El Paso. City inspectors say it's because they start spraying the area way before mosquitoes become a problem. 
"We try to get ahead of the game by doing it in the springtine, wintertime,” said Pete Ortega, co-compliance inspector. 
Ortega says they inspect areas of the city and county once a week, focusing on the irrigated areas and the parts of town prone to flooding. 

Ortega urges all homeowners to take precautions by getting rid of standing water, wearing bug spray that contains DEET and wearing loose, light-colored clothes. 

Delacerda uses a less-traditional method to keep mosquitos away.
"I just get a dryer sheet and I rub it all over. Then I rub it on my clothes and on my legs," said DeLacerda. 

Experts say chances of getting bit are worse at dusk and dawn. If you get bit by a mosquito and then get a fever, headache, become nauseous, develop a stiff neck or feel disoriented, get checked by a doctor. 

To find out more about West Nile virus visit the Heath Department's website at: http://home.elpasotexas.gov/health/ 

Or if you need your property checked out, someone from the city can help, call 915-599-6290.

Borderland residents urged to beware of West Nile virus


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