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Department of Public Health tracks down another virus carried by mosquitoes

Photo: Erik F. Brandsborg / CC BY-SA 2.0 / MGN

Mosquitoes in El Paso's lower valley tested positive for virus that can cause inflammation of the brain, said public health officials.

They said mosquito season is not over. St. Louis encephalitis was found in mosquitoes captured in the Lower Valley.

The disease, which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito, does not usually result in noticeable illness but severe cases can lead to inflammation of the brain. Initial symptoms of those who become ill include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. Severe presentation of the disease, including coma, convulsions or paralysis, occurs more commonly in older adults.

The Department of Public Health says its working closely with the its Vector Control Program to prevent mosquito breeding in El Paso.

The most effective way to avoid mosquito-borne illnesses, is to prevent mosquito bites and use the four D's:

• DEET -- Use insect repellents that contain DEET when outdoors.

• DRESS -- Wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors.

• DUSK and DAWN – Although mosquitoes associated with Zika can be active throughout the day, residents should take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours (from dusk to dawn) or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.

• DRAIN – Drain standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes and birdbaths.

Residents can also mosquito-proof their home by repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

To report standing water or mosquito breeding, call 311. For more information on mosquitoes, visit www.EPHealth.com or www.EPSalud.com.

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