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West Nile in the panhandle

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Amarillo, Texas - A New Mexico woman has recently died from West Nile virus infection.

Mosquitoes will be sticking around for a few more months. Although we've had a light year in our area for cases of West Nile virus, that all could change. "Currently we have two confirmed cases in Amarillo. One in Potter County and one in Randall County, and we have four probable cases. That really tells us that West Nile is here as we knew it would be. It's here every year, and it's time to take precautions," Matt Richardson, Amarillo Public Health director said.

Not only is the virus popping up in Amarillo, but also other counties in the panhandle. According to The Centers for Disease Control Carson, Deaf Smith, Moore, and Childress counties all have one confirmed case reported. And expected rainfall in our forecast isn't helping. "More rain does mean more mosquitoes. Which means more risk," Richardson said.

The Amarillo Public Health department is expecting cases to rise in the coming months. "Last year we had 22 confirmed cases for the year, right now we're at two. So, it's been a light year comparatively, but it's hard to tell for the end of summer here and the beginning of fall. We could have additional cases. There's going to be an increase of mosquitoes, so there is more risk," Richardson said.

There have been two deaths from the virus in New Mexico already this year. The latest at the beginning of this month in San Juan County. But, it's not just humans contracting West Nile. One horse has said to have been recently infected in Potter County.

More information on West Nile virus and how to protect yourself can be found on the CDC's website. http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html

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