EL PASO, TX – The City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed two cases of West Nile Virus (WNV).
The patients are a man in his 60s and a woman in her 80s, the latter with underlying medical conditions. Both patients are currently in the hospital receiving treatment.
In 2021, El Paso recorded a total of 18 cases of WNV, all of which required hospitalization, and two ended in death.
Transmission is the result of bites from infected mosquitoes, who do so when they feed on sick birds, causing the virus to circulate in their blood.
Symptoms of West Nile include fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting and swollen lymph nodes.
Eight out of ten people infected with the virus do not develop symptoms. However, one in five infected people develop West Nile fever, an illness that includes increased body temperature, body aches, joint and head discomfort or a rash.
Approximately one in 150 infected persons develops a severe illness affecting the central nervous system and about one in ten cases is fatal.
DPH reported that people over the age of 60 are most at risk for severe disease; as well as those patients with medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants.
The best way to avoid exposure to mosquito-borne diseases is to use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535 or 2-undecanone when going outdoors.
It is also recommended that when weather permits, you wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when going outdoors. Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, so it is recommended that you spray your clothing with repellent.
Although mosquitoes associated with West Nile may be active throughout the day, residents should be more cautious during peak mosquito hours (dusk to dawn) or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these hours.
In addition, it is recommended that you reduce the number of mosquitoes around and outside your home by regularly emptying standing water from flower pots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, tires, and bird baths.
You can also protect your home from mosquitoes by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep them away.