On Wednesday afternoon the City of El Paso Department of Public Health received confirmation of two cases of West Nile virus.
This brings the total number of cases being investigated to three. The second case is a 34-year-old man who lives in the 79912 zip code in West El Paso and the third case is a 75-year-old man who lives in the 79915 zip code in Lower Valley/East Side. The first case was that of a 54-year-old man who lives in the 79935 zip code in East Side/Lower Valley.
"The fact that the cases we are finding come from different parts of town should serve as a reminder that everyone in El Paso needs to take precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes. While our numbers are low, they will only stay that way if we all take an active role in preventing this disease," said Michael Hill, Public Health Director.
Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that so far this year, 47 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes.
More than 1,100 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 41 deaths, have been reported to CDC. About half of the cases have been from Texas, and last week, Dallas County declared a state of emergency because of the extremely high number of cases in that area.
The best way to avoid exposure to West Nile Virus is to practice the four Ds:
use Insect repellents that contain DEET
Drain any standing water
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 (915) 599-6290.
Serious Symptoms in a Few People. About one in 150 people infected
with WNV 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 CDC website:
www.elpasotexas.gov/health/westnile.asp or the CDC at: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factSheet.htm.