Santa Fe, NM — The New Mexico Department of Health announced today that a 76-year-old man from Bernalillo County has died from West Nile Virus infection. This is the first fatality due to West Nile Virus in New Mexico in 2012. The man had meningitis and encephalitis, the more severe clinical form of the disease, and had been hospitalized since August 23rd. The Department of Health originally reported this case on August 29th.
“We extend our sympathy to the man’s family and friends who are grieving for their loss,” said Cabinet Secretary of Health Catherine Torres, M.D. “We have seen West Nile Virus cases in many different areas of New Mexico in the last month. We all need to do our best to prevent mosquito bites, especially people older than 50, who are at most at risk for developing serious complications from the disease.”
New Human Cases by County:
Three new cases have been reported since the last update on 09/07/2012, bringing the total for this year to 21 cases.
The new cases are:
1. 44 year old man from Bernalillo County. Encephalitis/meningitis.
2. 21 year old woman from Valencia County. Encephalitis/meningitis.
3. 73 year old woman from Sandoval County. Encephalitis/meningitis
Total Human Cases by County:
Bernalillo County: 6 cases; 63 year old man, encephalitis/meningitis; 58 year old woman, encephalitis/meningitis; 55 year old man, uncomplicated fever; 76 year old man, encephalitis/meningitis, which resulted in death; 56 year old woman, uncomplicated fever; 44 year old man, Encephalitis/meningitis
Cibola County: 1 case; 59 year old man, uncomplicated fever.
Curry County: 1 case; 32 year old man, uncomplicated fever.
Dona Ana County: 5 cases; 54 year old man, encephalitis/meningitis; 76 year old man, encephalitis/meningitis; 78 year old man, uncomplicated fever; 9 year old boy, encephalitis/meningitis; 72 year old man, encephalitis/meningitis.
Lea County: 1 case; 59 year old man, uncomplicated fever.
Rio Arriba: 1 case; 62 year old woman, meningitis.
San Juan County: 1 case; 43 year old man, uncomplicated fever.
San Miguel County: 1 case; 67 year old man, uncomplicated fever.
Sandoval County: 3 cases; 79 year old man, encephalitis/meningitis; 81 year old man, encephalitis/meningitis; 73 year old woman, encephalitis/meningitis.
Valencia County: 1 Case; 21 year old woman, encephalitis/meningitis.
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.