Rain boosts mosquito breeding, chances of West Nile virus

Rain boosts mosquito breeding, chances of West Nile virus
MGN Online
News
Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 4:15pm

Residents of El Paso are urged to help prevent spread of mosquitos and West Nile Virus as rainy weather continued in the across the city, the Department of Public Health said.

So far no confirmed cases of West Nile have been reported in El Paso for 2013, but last year the Epidemiology Program recorded 32 cases and six deaths related to the disease. 

“With the dry conditions we’ve seen over the past several months, many residents may have forgotten to take the steps necessary to prevent mosquitoes and West Nile virus when it rains. It’s important to remember that something as simple as draining standing water can prevent illness and even save a life,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, El Paso Health Authority.

In addition, residents are reminded to also:

• Use insect repellents that contain DEET
• Dress in long, loose and light-colored clothing and
• Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing from Dusk to Dawn.

To report standing water or mosquito breeding, call Environmental Services at 3-1-1.

Background:
• West Nile virus can cause serious symptoms in a few people. About one in 150 people infected will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms 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.
• Milder Symptoms in Some People. 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: www.EPHealth.com and click on the West Nile Virus page.

or the CDC at:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factSheet.htm.

Education
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 electronically or via telephone at:

http://tinyurl.com/8b6qptx
(915) 771-5727

  

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