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Health Dept. announces 1st West Nile-related death of year

Published On: Dec 24 2013 08:46:30 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 02:17:58 PM CST
Mosquito

CDC

EL PASO, Texas -

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health announced Thursday that an 84-year-old man has died after contracting the West Nile virus.

Officials said the man, who resided in the 79903 zip code suffered from several underlying health conditions.
 
"It is always difficult to report the death of one of our residents because of this disease," said Fernando Gonzalez, Lead Epidemiologist. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones and with the entire community as we all do what we can to prevent the incidence of this virus."
 
The department also confirmed two additional cases of the disease in addition to the death. The patients are an 84-year-old man who lives in the 79907 zip code, and a 51-year-old man who lives in the 79932 zip code.
 
At this time last year, there were 27 cases and 5 West Nile-related deaths in El Paso.
 
The updated list of this year's cases is shown below:
Case   Age     Gender           Zip Code
1          16 y/o Male   79928
2          52 y/o Female          79936
3          62 y/o Female          79925
4          62 y/o Female          79932
5          63 y/o Female          79924
6          70 y/o Female          79922
7          48 y/o Female          79924
8          59 y/o Female          79928
9          48 y/o Male   79915
10        66 y/o Male   79932
11        84 y/o Male   79903 (new/deceased)
12        84 y/o Male   79907 (new)
13        51 y/o Male   79932 (new)
 
Department officials continue to urge residents to practice the four Ds in order to prevent the mosquito bites that transfer the disease:
•           Use insect repellents that contain DEET
•           Drain any standing water
•           Dress in long, loose and light-colored clothing and
•           Take extra care to avoid the outdoor and to use repellent and protective clothing from Dusk to Dawn.
 
To report large areas of standing water or areas suspected of mosquito breeding, call Environmental Services at (915) 3-1-1.
 
Symptoms
•           About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness which can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
 
•           Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
 
•           No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.
 
For more information on West Nile virus, please visit the Health Department website at www.EPHealth.com and click on the West Nile Virus link.
 
Education
In effort to increase awareness about the disease and ways the public can protect themselves, the Department has added a West Nile virus session to the list of presentations offered by the Speakers Bureau. Local civic and community organizations can schedule a presentation that will include background on the disease, prevention methods, as well as what people can look out for in regards to signs and symptoms of infection. Presentations can be scheduled by visiting www.EPHealth.com, and then clicking on the Speakers Bureau link under Special Projects.

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