Mosquitoes Found with St. Louis Encephalitis

Infected insects found in Lower Valley

Tests confirm the presence of St. Louis Encephalitis in mosquitoes found in El Paso.

The infected insects were trapped by workers with the City of El Paso's Environmental Services Department in the Lower Valley. The Public Health Department said the virus is most common in the eastern and central United States, but has been identified locally in recent years. Part of the problem, according to the Public Health Department, comes from the recent warm weather in the area, because it's not yet cold enough to kill off the local mosquito population.

"The warm weather we experience in El Paso is a double-edged sword," said Robert Resendes, City Public Health Director. "It's great for those of us who enjoy spending time outdoors, but bad in the sense that we never get cold enough to completely kill off our mosquito population."

St. Louis Encephalitis doesn't usually result in noticeable illness, but severe cases can lead to inflammation of the brain. Initial symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. Severe presentation of the disease, including coma, convulsions or paralysis, occurs more commonly in older adults.

To report standing water or mosquito breeding, people are asked to call 311. 

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