Two West Nile cases confirmed locally

There have been at least two confirmed cases of West Nile Virus within the city limits of Big Spring, according to a report from the Texas Department of State Health Services issued Wednesday.The Texas Department of State Health Services notified officials with the city of Big Spring regarding the confirmed cases, according to a press release issued by Big Spring Fire Department Chief Craig Ferguson this morning.“These two people are currently being treated in a hospital,” Ferguson said. “The state of Texas is actively trapping and studying the local mosquito population to determine the extent of the problem.”Ferguson said the municipality is also taking steps to protect the local population against the disease.“The city staff has been actively treating areas throughout the city in an attempt to reduce the mosquito population,” Ferguson said. “The city of Big Spring and state of Texas are working closely together to determine the extent of the problem and to educate the public regarding West Nile Virus.”According to Ferguson, area residents can take steps to protect themselves against the disease.“First, be sure to use an approved insect repellent every time you go outside. Approved repellents are those which contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus,” he said. “Follow the instructions on the label. Also, regularly drain standing water, including water that collects in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.“Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Be sure to use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.”