El Paso working to prevent mosquito-borne chikungunya virus

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 1:02am

The City of El Paso says it is already working to help keep an emerging mosquito-borne virus at bay.

Monday, state health officials announced the first human case of chikungunya virus in Texas. The patient, a resident of Williamson County, near Austin, apparently contracted the virus during a trip to the Caribbean.

Chikungunya, while not as deadly as West Nile virus, is more easily contracted. Symptoms include fever and severe joint pain, though health officials have said most who are infected recover on their own within a week.

There have been no reports of transmissions or even chikungunya positive mosquitoes in the continental U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.

CDC records showed of the 151 human cases reported so far, all have been travel-related.

The virus, however, is spreading quickly throughout the Caribbean, particularly in Puerto Rico.

Tuesday afternoon, El Paso's Environmental Services Department (ESD) told Local 4 its yearly anti-mosquito efforts are already underway.

"We're basically just doing what we do every year," said Danny Soto of the ESD Vector Control Division.

"We get rid of the (mosquito) habitats, any breeding sites, any standing water on public property and on private property."

Soto said ESD crews have started fogging neighborhoods with large numbers of adult mosquitoes.

He said the dry spring El Paso experienced this year has also proven helpful.

"Last year was pretty good and we're expecting the same thing this year: dry, no rain, high winds," Soto said. 


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