POSTED: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 5:50pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 9:29pm
West Nile Virus has claimed the life of a Dona Ana County man. The New Mexico Department of Health says the 45-year-old had encephalitis, the more severe clinical form of the disease.
He had been in the hospital since August 1st. This is the first West Nile death in the state of New Mexico this year. There are two confirmed cases of West Nile in El Paso County.
To protect yourself from West Nile:
Use insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 for use on skin, and permethrin for use on clothing. Always follow label directions when using insect repellents.
When weather permits, wear protective clothing such as loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for mosquitoes. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing, or avoid outdoor activities during these times.
Eliminate water-holding containers where mosquitoes lay their eggs, such as old tires, and regularly change the water in birdbaths, wading pools and pet water bowls. Make sure rain barrels are tightly screened.
Keep windows and doors closed if not screened. If you leave your house doors or windows open, make sure they have screens that fit tightly and have no holes.
Vaccinate your horses to protect them from West Nile Virus and Western Equine Encephalitis, which is also carried by mosquitoes.
Common West Nile Virus symptoms are fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches. In rare cases, West Nile Virus can cause meningitis or encephalitis. If someone has these symptoms, they should see their health care provider. People older than 50 are at most risk for serious disease from West Nile Virus.