Public Health New Mexico
4:33 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Heavy Rains Bring Worries Of West Nile Virus

This map shows the incidence of human West Nile virus by state for 2013.
Credit Centers for Disease Control

With heavy rainfall still drenching parts of the Southwest, health officials are warning that mosquito populations could increase, and more mosquitoes could mean more West Nile Virus.

So far this year, there have been 150 cases of West Nile Virus in California, 44 in Texas, 25 in Arizona, and 10 in New Mexico.

Three recently identified cases in the New Mexico aren't related to increased rain, but they do signal the need for people to steer clear of mosquitoes.

"We are concerned that with these new rains and a lot of standing water that there may be a lot of mosquito breeding sites," said Paul Ettestad, an epidemiologist with the New Mexico Department of Health. "There may be an increase in the mosquito population and maybe an increased risk for people getting West Nile Virus."

West Nile cases have fluctuated in the region over the years. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, statistics from 2012 show an increase in the Southwest.