State health officials have identified the first pools of mosquitoes to test positive for the St. Louis encephalitis virus.
This means El Pasoans should be taking precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites and making sure there are no standing water issues around their homes.
The virus was found in a group of mosquitoes collected from traps set by Environmental Services Department-Vector Control in the 79936 ZIP code, a city news release stated.
“Vulnerable populations for COVID-19 are some of the same individuals who could be affected greatly by diseases from a mosquito bite,” said Angela Mora, director of public health.
“We need to be vigilant and proactive in order to prevent mosquito breeding and mosquito bites,” she said.
Officials will continue monitoring and testing mosquitoes for the virus.
Similar to the West Nile virus, birds are the reservoir host once exposed to a mosquito with the St. Louis encephalitis virus. Humans cannot infect other humans with the virus.
Severe illness can occur in people of any age; however, people older than 60 years of age are at greater risk.
Symptoms are also similar to West Nile and include a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, numbness, muscle weakness, vision loss, as well as more serious symptoms like tremors, convulsions, paralysis or coma.
Tips for keeping mosquitoes at bay
Residents are reminded to use insect repellents with DEET, picaridin or IR3535. Those that contain some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol also provide good protection. Be sure to apply over clothes for extra protection. However, don’t apply repellents containing permethrin directly to the skin. Spray permethrin-containing products only on clothing.
Also, wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
Peak hours of mosquitoes are from dusk to dawn. Avoid outdoor activities during these times and use repellent.
Drain flower pots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths on a regular basis.
You also can mosquito-proof your home by installing or repairing screens on windows and doors.
Residents can report mosquito breeding and standing water by calling 311.
More health:El Paso reports three COVID-19 delta variant cases, all in unvaccinated patients
More:El Paso County COVID-19 vaccine tracker: 57% of people fully vaccinated
María Cortés González may be reached at 915-546-6150; firstname.lastname@example.org; @EPTMaria on Twitter.
Originally Appeared Here