NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil
For immediate release: Contact: Deborah Busemeyer
September 28, 2007 505-827-2619, 505-470-2290
State Announces Nine New West Nile Cases, One Death
(Santa Fe) -- The New Mexico Department of Health announced today that it has confirmed nine
new cases of West Nile Virus infection in six counties in New Mexico. Additionally, a 57 year-
old woman from Chaves County who was one of the first cases has died of West Nile meningitis.
The state has had a total of 51 human cases of West Nile so far this year with three fatalities.
“Infected mosquitoes are still active in many areas of the state,” said C. Mack Sewell, the
Department of Health’s state epidemiologist. “We urge people to protect themselves from
mosquito bites until the first frost in their area.”
The new cases are:
San Juan County – an 80-year-old woman with West Nile encephalitis and meningitis who is
hospitalized and a 52-year-old woman and a 41-year-old woman who had West Nile fever and
were not hospitalized
Santa Fe County – an 84-year-old woman with West Nile encephalitis who is hospitalized, and
a 44 year-old man with West Nile meningitis who was hospitalized but has been released
Bernalillo County – a 61-year-old man who was hospitalized with West Nile meningitis but has
Doña Ana County – a 66-year-old man with West Nile fever who was not hospitalized
Eddy County – a 35-year-old man with West Nile fever who was not hospitalized
Valencia County – a 70-year-old man with West Nile encephalitis who is hospitalized
The 51 human cases of West Nile Virus for 2007 come from: Bernalillo (8), Chaves (4), Curry
(1), Doña Ana (14), Eddy (1), Grant (1), McKinley (2), Rio Arriba (1), Roosevelt (1), San Juan
(10), Santa Fe (2), Sierra (2), Socorro (1), Torrance (1), and Valencia (2) counties. The fatal
cases have been from Chaves, Doña Ana and McKinley counties.
A horse from McKinley County was also confirmed with West Nile Virus this week. A total of
13 positive horses have been reported from 12 counties. Positive mosquitoes have also been
collected from Bernalillo, Cibola, Doña Ana, Luna and San Juan counties.
Common West Nile symptoms are fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches. Symptoms may
last from a few days to a few weeks. About four out of five people who are infected with West
Nile Virus will not show any symptoms at all. In very rare cases, about one in 150, people
infected with West Nile Virus will develop severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis.
Severe symptoms may include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, muscle weakness,
disorientation, tremors, and convulsions. If someone has these symptoms, they should see their
health care provider. People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile
To avoid West Nile infection:
Use insect repellent on exposed skin when you go outdoors. Products containing DEET
or Picaridin can provide long-lasting protection. Use products with no more than 35
percent DEET for adults and follow the directions on the label for children from ages 2-
12. Natural products containing soybean oil or oil of lemon eucalyptus need to be applied
When weather permits, wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
Mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing, so use an EPA-registered repellent on your
The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for mosquitoes. Take extra care to use
repellent and protective clothing, or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these
Keep windows and doors closed if not screened. If you leave your house doors or
windows open, make sure they have screens that fit tightly and have no holes.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Empty water from containers such as old
tires, flowerpots and trash receptacles. Circulate water in swimming pools, and change
water regularly in birdbaths and pet bowls.
Vaccinate your horses against West Nile virus, as well as Western Equine Encephalitis,
which is also carried by mosquitoes.
Do not use insect repellents intended for humans on cats and dogs. So far, both have been
resistant to the virus.
In 2006, New Mexico had eight cases of West Nile with one fatality. New Mexico had 33 cases
with two fatalities in 2005, 88 cases with four fatalities in 2004 and 209 cases with four fatalities
For more information about West Nile, call 827-0006 or look up the Department of Health’s