POSTED: Friday, July 30, 2010 - 8:42pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 24, 2010 - 8:06pm
With dark clouds looming over El Paso, it looks like kids may have some puddles to play in. But before letting them jump in the water, consider this: those innocent-looking puddles are often breeding grounds for mosquito larvae and the West Nile Virus.
Jaime Lagos knows his bugs. He sells pest control products to exterminators and this time of year, his mosquito treatments are flying off the shelves.
"Very common in the area especially when we see those early rains come in," Lagos said.
After it rains, water builds up. And that stagnant water becomes a breeding ground for mosquito eggs, also called larvae.
"Those eggs can continue to live there for up to 10 years," Lagos said.
"The reason that becomes a breeding ground is because that's actually where the larvae are deposited," said Sandy Viscon, the Emergency Room director at Las Palmas Medical Center. She said the real danger isn't the mosquitos themselves, but what they could be carrying: the West Nile Virus.
"Patients will actually have stuff like fevers, severe headaches, dizziness nausea, vomiting," Viscon said.
She says while these may be general symptoms, left untreated they can lead to swelling of the brain, which is a very serious - and even fatal - condition
"Theres only so much room in the cranium then you're going to have other problems," Viscon said.
She says if you have birdbaths or inflatable swimming pools, change the water regularly. If you have flooding in the area, El Paso Water UtilIties can come and vacuum out the water. Jaime says if you still can't get rid of the water, call your exterminator to treat it chemically.
"They carry diseases so we need to make sure we treat our waters," Lagos said.
Hoping that as the stagnant water subsides, so do the number of west nile cases.
A sample of mosquitos from the 79936 zip code here in El Paso recently tested positive for west nile. Last year, two people died from the virus here.