Sunday, September 27, 2020
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First West Nile virus case reported in northwest NM


The first case of West Nile virus has infected a San Juan County man in his 50s, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

The man, according to the NMDOH, required hospitalization and is recovering.

The neuro-invasive disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and can be fatal. New Mexico has had cases of the virus every year since the first case was reported in 2003, according to NMDOH.

Symptoms of the milder form of illness, West Nile fever, can include headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, nausea and fatigue.

Serious symptoms of the disease can include those of the fever plus neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.

People typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for weeks.

There are no medications or vaccines for West Nile virus infection. People 50 years of age and older and those with other health issues are at highest risk.

In 2019, 40 people became sick with the mosquito-borne disease, and 4 died.

If anyone has these symptoms and suspects West Nile, they should contact their health-care provider.

NMDOH recommends insect repellent and regularly draining standing water and scrub containers including empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters, saucers under potted plants, bird baths, wading pools, and pets’ water bowls.

“At a time where all of us are focused on COVID-19, we still must remember common seasonal viruses like West Nile,” NMDOH Secretary Kathy Kunkel said. “West Nile virus can be a serious health concern anywhere in New Mexico where mosquitos are active.”


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