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Health And Public Safety

First West Nile Virus of 2019 Detected in Bernalillo County Mosquitoes

08/01/2019

The City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department and Bernalillo County Planning and Development Services Department announced today that the first West Nile virus positive mosquitoes of 2019 were collected in Bernalillo County in the past week. The mosquitoes were collected during routine mosquito monitoring at locations in the Bosque.

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 have been present in unusually high numbers since early spring, in large part due to high water volume in the Rio Grande and regular precipitation. The 2019 season is on track to be one of the most intense mosquito seasons in years, and the risk of West Nile virus transmission will continue into fall.

“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 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 60 are at most risk for serious disease from West Nile virus.

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 city's Environmental Health Department website.

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