Officials push to prevent West Nile outbreak

County and city officials across the valley are coordinating their efforts to prevent the spread of the West Nile virus.

Hidalgo County confirmed the valley's first case of the year over the weekend.

Since the West Nile outbreak began in north Texas, county and city leaders have begun to do all they can to prevent an outbreak in the Rio Grande Valley.

"It was just a matter of time before West Nile would impact us here down in South Texas, Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Administrator Eddie Olivarez said.

Although this is not an emergency situation health officials suspect there will be more cases.

"I am sure in the days and weeks ahead there will be other cases that will be identified as potential West Nile or highly suspect of West Nile but as of right now, no," Olivarez said.

To prevent mosquitoes from breeding, crews across the valley are coordinating efforts to spray insecticide at the same time.

"So we can have that big mist of mosquito spray control the mosquito population. You control the mosquito, you control the virus, McAllen Health Director Josh Ramirez said.

But officials say they need everyone's help to keep it under control.

"It TMs just as important for residents to look around their properties and turn any standing water over, Edinburg Director of Public Information Irma Garza said.

If you find standing water in your driveway, parking lot, or back yard, get rid of it as soon as you can. It only takes three days for mosquitoes to breed.

"All it takes is one drop for them to make little babies, Garza said. All it takes is one tiny drop of water."

Every time it rains, the owner of Dream Creation's Barber Shop in Edinburg, Mario Salinas says his parking lot will have puddles of water for up to a week.

A perfect environment for breeding mosquitoes, Salinas says he is concerned for his customers.

"The owner needs to fix the whole parking lot, Salinas said.

Remember to take care of your pets too. You can spray them with the same bug repellant you use when they go outside.

If you see any standing water call your local city or county health department.