West Nile hits Roosevelt County

Roosevelt General Hospital reported two cases of West Nile Virus to the New Mexico Department of Health on Friday.

Hospital officials said the two patients were diagnosed through RGH out-patient services; however public health officials said the cases have not been confirmed through the Public Health department.

Chris Minnick, public information officer for NMDOH, said there are two forms of the disease, West Nile Fever, which has flu-like symptoms, and West Nile Virus, which affects patients neurologically, causing meningitis and encephalitis.

The two Roosevelt County residents who contracted the disease have not been hospitalized and are being taken care of by their primary health care providers, according to RGH officials.

The victims' names were not released by hospital personnel.

Roosevelt County farmer Matt Rush said his father, local farmer Bill Rush, received a phone call Thursday night telling him he had been diagnosed with the disease.

Matt Rush said his father had tests after going to the hospital emergency room Sunday night due to extreme headaches and fever.

"At this point, they're (doctors) telling him to stay at home and wait it out," Rush said of his father's condition. "I didn't know that but they said that's all they can do for West Nile."

Minnick said the disease cannot be passed from person to person and can only be contracted from a mosquito bite.

Rush said his father has a pond on his property, which could explain how his father became infected.

Minnick said he could not comment on how the disease is treated because he is not a health care provider.

The last confirmed cases by the NMDOH were out of San Juan, Bernalillo and Sandoval counties, which were confirmed Wednesday.

The case from San Juan County was confirmed as a meningitis/encephalitis case while the other two were termed "uncomplicated" fevers.

According to the NMDOH website, the risks of contracting West Nile can be reduced by exercising the following:

  • Using insect repellent
  • Reducing the amount of time spent outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
  • Having screens on your doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out
  • Emptying or eliminating water holding containers (where mosquitoes lay their eggs) such as tires, flower pots and buckets.

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