Avoiding West Nile Virus

August 30, 2012

There have been a number of cases of West Nile Virus in humans this year.  Although there is a very effective vaccine for horses, there is no immunization for people.  Our County Environmental Office released these measures to protect against contracting the virus.  So many of us spend much of our time outdoors with our animals that I thought this might be helpful.

 —– Subject: A Message from Bernalillo County’s Environmental Health Office
Aug. 30, 2012

Good afternoon community leaders,

Bernalillo County’s Environmental Health Office would like to remind the community about some simple precautions to help prevent the spread of West Nile virus.

West Nile virus is carried by infected mosquitoes. Most cases appear during August and September, state officials report.

Detailed information about this issue can be accessed via the New Mexico Department of Health

The state Department of Health has also issued the following precautions:

To protect against West Nile:
• Use insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 for use on skin, and permethrin for use on clothing. Always follow label directions when using insect repellents.
• When weather permits, wear protective clothing such as loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
• The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for mosquitoes. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing or avoid outdoor activities during these times.
• Eliminate water-holding containers where mosquitoes lay their eggs, such as old tires. Regularly change the water in birdbaths, wading pools and pet water bowls. Make sure rain barrels are tightly screened.
• 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.

Thank you. Please call Bernalillo County’s Environmental Health Office at 505.314.0310 for more information.


  1. DeAnn says:

    We’ve been taking those precautions for the past few years. No close cases reported yet, but we’re told it’s coming. Thanks for the repost. Always better to be safe than sorry. The worst part about the Aug/Sept time frame is that is when it starts to cool off for us and we can finally enjoy being outdoors! Boo!

  2. Taryn says:

    I think I would rather risk mosquitoes than ticks, though. The ticks in my area are just loaded with diseases…Lyme, Erlichia, and Rocky Mountain SF! Poor Wilson has had all 3, Jimmy, Erlichia and RMSF, and me, Lyme and RMSF! It stinks!

    The West Nile is in my area though. It was just in the news for Maryland.

  3. It’s my impression that West Nile is one of those diseases that only is awful for a very few people. I believe it’s the case that most people can have it and never know.

    We’ve had West Nile here in southeast Michigan for a long time. Ten years, maybe?

    It was very hard on some species of birds. Corvids. We went from tons of crows and blue jays to basically none. The crows bounced back within a few years. It took the jays longer, but now they are back in full force. (Remember Bo and Clarissa? 🙂 )

    I heard of a few West Nile deaths in people, but haven’t heard anything about that in a while. I believe the people who were hit hard were elderly and/or immunocompromised for other reasons.

    As Taryn notes — tick-borne diseases are MUCH worse. A much bigger worry for a lot more people and animals.

    My hub golfs as often as he can, all summer long. I bet he’s had West Nile, but we don’t know. For that matter, I suspect we’ve probably all had it, and never knew…..

    I’ve never heard of West Nile being a problem for dogs. So that’s good.