The Stanislaus County Health Services Agency has confirmed the first human West Nile virus infection in the county.
An adult female was diagnosed with West Nile fever (non-neuroinvasive disease).
The first pools of mosquitoes in Stanislaus County tested positive for West Nile virus on June 11. Stanislaus County currently has reported 20 mosquito samples testing positive for West Nile virus and has found one dead bird with the disease.
Merced County has had one dead bird and one sentinel chicken test positive for West Nile Virus. So far, Merced County has not reported any mosquito samples, horses or humans that have the virus.
On July 9, the California Department of Public Health reported the first death in the state this year from West Nile virus. The deceased was a resident in San Luis Obispo County.
Statewide, there have been four cases in humans confirmed, along with 94 dead birds, 563 mosquito samples, one horse and 10 sentinel chickens, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Mosquitoes become infected with West Nile Virus when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread West Nile Virus to humans and other animals when they bite, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Approximately 1 in 5 people who are infected with West Nile Virus will develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Less than 1 percent will develop a serious neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). About 10 percent of people who develop neurological infection due to West Nile virus will die, according to the CDC. People over 50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and organ transplants, are at greater risk for serious illness.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile Virus infection. People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks or months. In the neuroinvasive forms, patients can suffer severe and sometimes long-term symptoms.
People 50 years of age and older have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop serious illness when infected with WNV. Studies also indicate that those with diabetes and/or hypertension are at greatest risk for serious illness.
Public Health recommends community members to prevent exposure to mosquito bites and West Nile virus by following the “Four Ds”:
1.DEET–Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions to keep mosquitoes from biting you. Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.
2.DAWN & DUSK–Mosquitoes that carry WNV tend to bite in the early morning and evening, so it is important to wear repellent at this time. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.
3.DRESS–Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure to mosquito bites (i.e., long pants and long-sleeved shirts).
4.DRAIN–Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. If you have a pond, use mosquito fish or commercially available products to eliminate mosquito larvae. Neglected swimming pools are also prime place for mosquito breeding.
The Turlock Mosquito Abatement District is available to help with neglected pools in the prevention of mosquito development in Stanislaus County. For additional information or to request service, residents should call 209) 634‐1234 or visit www.turlockmosquito.org. For Merced County residents, call the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District at (209) 722-1527 or visit them at www.mcmosquito.org.