New Mexico Warning Residents About West Nile Virus

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - State health officials are reminding New Mexico residents they still need to take precautions against West Nile virus, such as using insect repellant on exposed skin.

There have been eight human cases of the disease so far this year in New Mexico, with the most recent case in an 80-year-old man from Luna County who was hospitalized with encephalitis.

Paul Ettestad, public health veterinarian for the state Department of Health, said most West Nile virus cases occur in the late summer but the disease remains a threat until the first hard freeze of the season.

Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches. In rare cases, West Nile virus can cause meningitis or encephalitis.