NMDOH reports 8 new West Nile virus cases

SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico Department of Health confirmed eight new cases of West Nile virus in residents of six different counties.

The new cases were reportedly among residents in Bernalillo, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Torrance and Valencia counties.

In late July, NMDOH reported the first two West Nile virus cases of this year. The eight new cases bring our state up to 10 total for the year.

Among the 10 total cases, seven required hospitalizations. Two of those seven people are currently in the hospital.

Officials also detected the virus in eight horses and two birds. Those cases are in Doña Ana, Los Alamos, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Taos, Torrance, Union and Valencia counties.

“The emergence of these new cases serves as a reminder of the continued threat posed by West Nile virus. As mosquito activity increases during this season, it is imperative that we remain vigilant and adopt measures to protect ourselves and our communities,” said Chad Smelser, MD, Deputy State Epidemiologist.

NMDOH recommends the following to protect yourself from West Nile virus:

  • Use insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when outdoors, including repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535 for use on skin and permethrin for use on clothing
  • Eliminate water-holding containers where mosquitoes lay their eggs, such as old tires
  • Regularly change the water in birdbaths, wading pools and pet water bowls
  • Make sure rain barrels are tightly screened
  • Prevent flood-irrigation water from standing for more than a few days
  • Keep windows and doors closed if they do not have screens
  • Make sure screens fit tightly and do not have holes

Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Anyone with virus symptoms is advised to see their healthcare provider. 

If you’re a horse owner, be sure to vaccinate your animal to protect them from West Nile and Western Equine Encephalitis which mosquitoes also carry.