Beware Mosquitoes Carrying SLE Virus Confirmed In The Sun City
State officials have identified the first pools of mosquitoes to test positive for the SLE virus in El Paso County.
Thank goodness that mosquitoes are not transmitters of COVID-19, but they, unfortunately, can spread another nasty virus, the St. Louis encephalitis, and sadly it's been confirmed in El Paso, TX.
Over the weekend, the Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed that the St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus was found in a group of mosquitoes collected from traps set by the Environmental Services Department- Vector Control in the 79936 zip code.
According to the CDC, the St. Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus is spread to people via a bite from an infected mosquito. While most people infected won’t have symptoms, some people may develop inflammation of the brain or suffer inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. In rare cases, long-term disability or death can occur.
Public Health officials and Environmental Services-Vector Control reminds El Pasoans that “mosquito bites can be deadly” and urge the public to be vigilant and take precautions and protect themselves from mosquito bites, especially those vulnerable to mosquito bites.
Officials say they will continue “monitoring and testing mosquitoes for the SLE virus. Similar to the West Nile virus, birds are the reservoir host once exposed to a mosquito with SLE. Humans are a dead-end host and are unable to infect other humans through casual contact.”
The public is advised to take caution, especially residents older than 60 years of age who are at greater risk because severe symptoms can occur and are also similar to West Nile and include the following:
- High fever
- Neck Stiffness
- Vision Loss
- Muscle Weakness
Authorities are encouraged to follow the four D’s to help avoid mosquitoes
- DEET - Use insect DEET repellents
- DRESS - Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks if possible when outdoors.
- DUSK / DAWN – Avoid peak mosquito biting hours (from dusk to dawn)
- DRAIN – Drain standing water from your yards or inside your homes, including flowerpots, gutters, pool covers, pet water dishes, birdbaths, and any standing water in general.
For more information, call 2-1-1 or visit EPHealth.com.