Case was reported this week outside Aztec

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FARMINGTON — A 43-year-old San Juan County man has been diagnosed with West Nile virus, according to a press release from the New Mexico Department of Health.

County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter announced during a County Commission meeting Tuesday that a case of West Nile virus was confirmed in the County Road 2900 area near Sutherland Farms outside of Aztec.

The county was informed of the confirmed case of West Nile virus Tuesday evening.

The case is one of two cases confirmed by the Department of Health this year in New Mexico. A 71-year-old Dona Ana County woman was also diagnosed with West Nile virus. Both cases required hospitalization.

Last year, there were 33 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in New Mexico. In August last year, a 61-year-old Farmington resident died of West Nile virus.

In 2016, there were six confirmed cases, including a reported death.

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Symptoms include fever, headache

West Nile virus can cause headache, fever and body aches. More severe cases can affect the central nervous system and cause stiff neck, muscle weakness, disorientation and brain inflammation.

People who suspect they may have West Nile virus should contact a doctor.

Virus is transmitted by mosquitoes

West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. According to the Department of Health, people who are 50 years old or older have a higher risk of having serious complications from the virus. The Department of Health states senior citizens should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

According to the press release, it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito for people to get sick.

Mosquito populations tend to be higher in the weeks following rain storms because female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, the press release states.

Department of Health encourages people to take precautions

To reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes, the Department of Health recommends using an approved insect repellent while outside. The repellents approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency include DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-methane-diol.

People should also wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, according to the press release.

The Department of Health also encourages people to regularly drain standing water, including any water collected in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters or saucers under potted plants.

The Department of Health recommends using air conditioning or making sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of houses.

“West Nile virus can be a health concern anywhere in New Mexico until after the first hard frost in your area of the state,” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher in a press release. “Until colder weather takes hold, take precautions against mosquito bites wherever mosquitoes are active.”

Fact sheets in English and Spanish as well as more information about West Nile virus can be found at nmhealth.org.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

 

 

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