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New Mexico confirms state’s first human case of West Nile Virus for 2019


A New Mexico woman has been infected with West Nile Virus, the state’s first human case of the virus this year. (Getty Images/iStock)

People in at least 19 states have reportedly been afflicted with West Nile Virus this year, now that New Mexico has confirmed its first human case for 2019.

The unnamed 42-year-old from Doña Ana County — a southern county that includes Las Cruces — “required hospitalization and is recovering from the disease,” according to a Monday news release from the New Mexico Department of Health.

“The patient is recovering at home,” a departmental spokesman told the Daily News.

Though the mosquito-transmitted disease can be deadly, most of people who contract the virus “won’t even know that they are sick,” Mark DiMenna, of the Environmental Health Department, told KOAT. Symptoms can range from, among others, headaches, fever, and nausea, to coma, convulsions and tremors, for West Nile neuroinvasive disease.

As of Aug. 6, 18 states had reported human cases of the virus for 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The states included Arizona, California, Maryland, New Jersey and Texas.

“This is almost exactly right on target for when we expect to start seeing human cases,” DiMenna said, though there might be cause for concern.

The CDC recently announced an uptick in West Nile cases for 2018, which saw 2,647. In there were 2,097.

Seven cases were confirmed in New Mexico during 2018, one of which was fatal; 33, including one reported death, were confirmed in 2017, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

While there are no vaccines or medications to prevent or treat the disease, the health department advised people to wear insect repellent whenever they go outside, as well as long sleeves and pants during mosquitoes’ active time of dusk and dawn.

“Until colder weather takes hold, take precautions against mosquito bites wherever mosquitoes are active," said Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel.