New Mexico confirms both human and horse West Nile virus cases
Both women and the man were hospitalized due to neuroinvasive disease, which is the severest form of West Nile virus. One woman was 75 years old, the other was 60 years old. Both women were from Dona Ana County. The man was 76 years old and lived in Valencia County.
The horse, located in Valencia County, is recovering.
“August and September are typically when we see the highest number of West Nile virus cases in both people and horses in New Mexico,” Retta Ward, Department of Health Secretary, said. “However, the mosquito populations are very high this year because of the extensive rainfall in many areas of the state.”
The general public of New Mexico is encouraged to take proactive measures to avoid contracting West Nile virus. Health officials encourage people to avoid spending time outdoors, but if they must be outside, then they should use insect repellents that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Up to 80 percent of people who contract the virus don’t get symptoms and won’t even know they have it,” Dr. Paul Ettestad, the department’s public health veterinarian, said. “But those who do get sick can experience very serious effects ranging from fever to substantial neurological symptoms and even death.”