HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Although mosquito season is coming to a close, the risk of vector borne disease still exists.
Recently, Holloman threat assessments for mosquitoes have confirmed a positive presence of the West Nile Virus in some mosquitoes on base.
This discovery was a coordinated effort. Holloman’s 49th Medical Group public health team coordinates with the 49th Civil Engineering Pest Management flight to mitigate the threat mosquito-borne illnesses pose to the local population. This is done by trapping four days a week in high-risk locations on base, detecting and eliminating breeding areas such as standing water as well as dropping larvacide in bodies of water around base.
The mosquitoes collected are sent to a DoD entomology laboratory for testing.
The West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that, in serious cases, can cause neurological illnesses to include encephalitis or meningitis. The majority of people, approximately 70-80 percent, do not develop any symptoms. But, those who do will experience headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or a skin rash along with fatigue and weakness.
These symptoms can last up to a week or longer depending on the severity. Currently, there is no treatment available for West Nile virus and the recommended “best defenses” against it are preventative measures and education.
For Holloman residents, the 49th MDG public health team recommends being more vigilant with preventative measures when enjoying activities outdoors. These measures can limit mosquito bites for the remainder of the season.
Though public health and pest management are taking considerable measures to safeguard against West Nile as well as other mosquito-borne diseases like the Zika virus, it is essential that each person on base is aware of these threats and practices effective prevention methods such as:
- Use insect repellent preferably with DEET (except children younger than two months old)
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants that cover arms and legs
- Treat uniforms or clothing with permethrin if possible
- Stay in places with air conditioning, and/or have window and door screens in use
- Research all vacation and travel locations to mitigate the risk of contracting West Nile virus
- Remove or empty objects that can hold water such as buckets, birdbaths, dog bowls and tires to help effectively disrupt mosquito reproduction around a home as mosquitoes lay their eggs in water
For more information on West Nile and prevention, Holloman personnel can visit the Center for Disease Control’s West Nile Virus webpage at www.cdc.gov/westnile or call the Public Health Office at (575) 572-3306 with any questions.
To make a medical appointment to discuss individual symptoms with their Primary Care Manager, customers can call the Appointment Line at (575) 572-2778, visit www.tricareonline.com or access MiCare through secure messaging.