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Two more cases of West Nile reported in El Paso
By: Jamel Valencia
EL PASO, Texas - Two new cases of West Nile virus have been reported, the eighth and ninth for El Paso. Dona Ana County on Thursday reported its first case.
Health department officials on Thursday said the cases involve a 59-year-old woman who lives in the 79928 ZIP code and a 48-year-old man who resides in the 79915 area.
Compared to the same time in 2012, El Paso has seen fewer West Nile cases.
Around this time in 2012, there were 23 confirmed cases including three deaths, said health officials.
A 56-yar-old woman from Dona Ana County was diagnosed with the virus, said New Mexico health spokesperson, David Morgan.
With the recent heavy rain, health officials are urging the public to get rid of standing water outside.
Local residents are asked to practice the four Ds in order to prevent the mosquito bites that 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 outdoors 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) 311.
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.
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.
The mission of the El Paso Department of Public Health is to work in partnership with people in our community to promote and protect the health of the borderland. For more information on the programs and services offered by the Department of Public Health, visit EPHealth.com or call 2-1-1.