SANTA FE -- The New Mexico Department of Health announced today three new cases of West Nile Virus infection in New Mexico residents.
The cases include a 56-year-old woman from Doña Ana County with West Nile fever, a 52-year-old woman from Lea County with West Nile fever, and a 29-year-old man from Curry County who had the more severe West Nile neurologic disease. All three cases have recovered.
"With the recent rains and flooding, there are areas of standing water in many areas of the state that can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes," said Department of Health Secretary of Health Retta Ward, MPH. "It is very important for people to avoid mosquito bites so they can prevent getting infected with West Nile Virus. "
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.
"There could be large increases in mosquito populations which will be present until the first hard frost," said Dr. Paul Ettestad, the Departments public health veterinarian. "We urge everyone to follow the precautions listed to reduce their risk of becoming infected."
To protect you and your family from West Nile Virus infection:
- 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.
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