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Two county residents contract West Nile Virus
west nile
West Nile Virus activity, which is transmitted by mosquitos, has been found in two people in Stanislaus County (Photo courtesy of the CDC).

Two Stanislaus County residents have tested positive for the West Nile Virus, the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency reported.

Both were adult males and did not have any symptoms.

“Although the mosquito populations remain light to moderate in most areas, the concern is the above average number of mosquito samples that we are detecting with West Nile Virus early in the season. As temperatures continue to rise, so will mosquito populations and virus activity,” said Turlock Mosquito Abatement District Manager David Heft.

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 neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). About 10 percent of people who develop neurologic 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.

“With the arrival of summer, we all need to remember to protect ourselves from mosquito bites,” said Stanislaus County Public Health Officer Dr. Julie Vaishampayan. “Because there is no vaccine and no specific treatment, it is very important that people take all the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families.”

The Turlock Mosquito and Eastside Mosquito Abatement Districts have already confirmed the detection of West Nile Virus on May 26, however, since then the Districts have continued to collect an above average amount of WNV infected mosquito samples in their Districts for this time of the year. As of June 13, WNV has been detected in 10 California counties with the WNV activity confirmed in eight dead birds, 48 mosquito samples. Stanislaus County has had no dead birds, but 19 WNV mosquito samples.

The Districts will continue with their surveillance programs identifying mosquito breeding sources and mosquito borne disease activity. Based on the results of surveillance data, aerial and ground applications will be utilized as needed to reduce the risk of West Nile Virus infection and other mosquito borne diseases.

The Districts anticipate more WNV and mosquitoes in the coming months and would like to remind residents they can help by taking the following precautions:

— Dump or drain standing water. These are places mosquitoes like to lay their eggs.

 — Defend yourself against mosquitoes by using repellants containing DEET, picaridin or oil

of lemon eucalyptus.

— Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn. These are the times when WNV carrying

mosquitoes are generally most active.

— Report neglected swimming pools to your local mosquito abatement district.

— Use tight fitting door and window screens to keep mosquitoes from entering your

home.

Contact your veterinarian for information on vaccinating equine against WNV.

For additional information or to request service, residents should contact their local District Stanislaus County residents:

·         North of the Tuolumne River contact: Eastside Mosquito Abatement District at (209) 522‐4098 (www.eastsidemosquito.com)

·         South of the Tuolumne River contact: Turlock Mosquito Abatement District at (209) 634‐1234 (www.turlockmosquito.org)