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Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in Bernalillo County

Updated: 07/23/2014 11:37 AM | Created: 07/23/2014 11:31 AM
By: KOB.com Web Staff

The first West Nile virus positive mosquitoes of 2014 have been confirmed in Bernalillo County.

According to the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department, the mosquitoes were collected through routine mosquito monitoring and were lab tested for West Nile virus.

The city and county operate a joint mosquito control program aimed at reducing populations of mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus and protecting public health.

Integrated pest management techniques are used to reduce mosquito breeding and residents throughout Bernalillo County are encouraged to report standing water or mosquito problems by calling 311.

"Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus will be around until there is a good hard frost in the area, so we urge people to continue to take precautions against mosquito bites throughout the rest of the season," said Dr. Mark DiMenna, deputy director for the city's Environmental Health Department.

Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. In rare cases, West Nile virus can cause meningitis or encephalitis. Anyone with these symptoms should see their health care provider. People older than 60 are at most risk for serious disease from West Nile virus.

Also, horse owners are strongly encouraged to vaccinate horses to protect them from West Nile Virus and Western Equine Encephalitis, which is also carried by mosquitoes.  Livestock water troughs should be flushed regularly to prevent mosquito breeding as well.

Reduce the risk of contracting West Nile by minimizing exposure to mosquitoes:

  • 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.
  • 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.

For more information about West Nile Virus go to the Environmental Health Department website.


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