Increase in West Nile cases concern Lower Valley residents

Residents say irrigation canals are part of why some people in the Lower Valley are seeing more mosquitoes. Credit: KFOX14 / CBS4

Lower Valley residents concerned with amount of mosquitoes in area after spike in West Nile cases

A recent spike in West Nile virus cases has some people in the Lower Valley concerned because of the amount of mosquitoes in the area.

Irrigation canals are part of why some people in the Lower Valley are seeing more mosquitoes.

People use the water to flood irrigate, which leads to more standing water.

But the city of El Paso says there are steps you can take to fight off the bugs before they multiply.

With six West Nile cases reported in the past week, people in the Lower Valley are uneasy.

"They bite a lot too, and a lot of people are scared because they're like, sometimes contagious," said Lower Valley resident Daisy Martinez.

The recent cases bring the total number of cases to 11.

Two of those are in the Lower Valley, and two others are in the eastern portion of the county.

Those are all areas that use irrigation. The city of El Paso says that makes them more susceptible to mosquitoes.

"When they leave a lot of water dirty there, it makes it worse. So I think it's better for people to clean the water," Martinez said.

Pedro Ortega with the city's vector control agency tells CBS4 they've been getting more fogging calls because of the recent spike in West Nile cases.

"We usually get [reports of West Nile] one at a time. We never had them come in so many at one time. It's going to get us out there even a little bit more," Ortega said.

Some people say they have seen fewer mosquitoes already because of the fogging.

"They were pretty aggressive about putting up the sprays in the streets, so we saw a lot of those spray trucks driving around the neighborhoods. That might be something to do with it," said Lower Valley resident Adrian Ordonez.

Ortega says there's a quick way to make sure mosquitoes do not breed in standing water if you irrigate your property.

"They can find a formula of how to mix soap and oils with water that they can throw in the water themselves and that will take care of the larvae," Ortega said.

Ortega says another problem they've been seeing is with standing water in vacant homes - for example, abandoned swimming pools.

If you are having issues with this, you can call 311 and the city will treat the abandoned property free of charge.

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