El Paso, Texas – The first three human cases of West Nile Virus in the El Paso area have been detected,
The City of El Paso Department of Public Health says the most recent case is a 64-year-old woman who lives in the 79935 zip code. She's getting treatment for the disease. The second confirmed case is a 65-year-old man who lives in the 79927 zip code.
The first case was identified in a patient who didn't show symtoms of West Nile virus, but was diagnosed after donating blood.
The source of the virus is undetermined in the first cast and no other details are being released.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes, and can cause serious, life-altering and even fatal disease.
“We continue to get the word out about confirmed cases of West Nile in our area so that residents don’t forget that the disease still exists and that it can become serious,” said Fernando Gonzalez, Department of Public Health-Lead Epidemiologist.
“Taking precautions like using insect repellent and draining standing water outside your home should be as common as putting sunblock on your children and making sure the doors are locked before you go to bed,” he added.
Department officials continue to stress the importance of following recommendations for avoiding mosquito breeding or mosquito bites. They include:
• Using insect repellents that contain DEET, picardin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
• Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
• If you are outdoors, wear long-sleeves, pants and socks when weather permits.
• Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs.
• Install or Repair Window and Door Screens.
The chance that any one person is going to become ill from a single mosquito bite remains low. The risk of severe illness and death is highest for people over 50 years old, although people of all ages can become ill.