Bernalillo County man, 76, dies of West Nile; first NM death in 2012
Posted at: 09/11/2012 10:36 AM
| Updated at: 09/11/2012 10:44 AM
By: Tracy Dingmann, KOB.com
A 76-year-old man from Bernalillo County has become the first person in New Mexico to die of the West Nile virus in 2012.
The New Mexico Department of Health says 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 his case on August 29th.
The disease is spread by mosquitoes.
Three new cases have been reported since the last update on Friday, bringing the total for this year to 21 cases.
The newest cases are a 44 year old man from Bernalillo County, a 21 year old woman from Valencia County and a 73 year old woman from Sandoval County, all with encephalitis/meningitis.
To protect yourself from West Nile, the health department suggests you:
· 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.
For more information, visit the state health department's website here.