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First Detection of West Nile Virus of 2021 in Bernalillo County Mosquitoes

Health officials warn residents to take precautions against mosquito bites

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 2021 were collected from Bernalillo County. The mosquitoes were collected through routine mosquito monitoring at locations throughout the city.

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 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. Those over the age of 60 are at most risk for serious disease from West Nile virus.

To minimize mosquito bites and prevent exposure to disease carried by mosquitoes:

  • Use insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when outdoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends repellents that have been proven effective, which includes those 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.
  • When flood-irrigating, prevent water from standing for more than a few days
  • Keep windows and doors closed if they do not have screens. If you leave your house doors or windows open, make sure they have screens that fit tightly and do not have holes.

Residents in Albuquerque and throughout Bernalillo County can report mosquito breeding or request mosquito control by calling 311.

For more information on mosquito control and mosquito-borne disease prevention programs in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County visit: http://www.cabq.gov/environmentalhealth/urban-biology