Imperial County Reports 1st Human Case of West Nile Virus This Year

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IMPERIAL COUNTY – An Imperial County man has been diagnosed with West Nile virus (WNV) neuroinvasive illness, the most severe form of West Nile virus illness and is recuperating.

Severe symptoms of WNV include fever, nausea, vomiting and seizures. The family reported exposure to mosquitoes around the home.

AnnIndianAcadNeurol_2014_17_1_85_128561_u4This is the county’s first reported case this year of the mosquito-borne illness and the ninth Imperial County case since WNV was first detected in the region in August, 2003.

“Although most of the individuals infected with WNV don’t experience the most severe form of the illness this case is a sad reminder for our community of how seriously this virus can affect a person’s health,” said Stephen Munday, M.D., Health Officer. “We still have more warm weather ahead of us so we urge the public to continue taking personal precautions to protect themselves and their families from West Nile Virus.”

To date in 2014, WNV activity has been detected in 36 of California’s 58 counties. A total of 129 individuals, have been infected with WNV this year while there have been six WNV-related fatalities in California. To date there have been no WNV-related fatalities in Imperial County.

Most individuals who are infected with WNV will not experience any illness. Others will have only mild symptoms, such as fever, headache and body aches. However, WNV can be severe in the elderly and individuals with lowered immune systems. Those who experience the more severe form of the disease will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues.)

WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.

Human-to-human transmission of WNV generally does not occur absent a blood transfusion or tissue donation from an infectious donor.

Individuals can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by taking the following precautions:

· Limit time outdoors during dawn and early evening.

· When outdoors, wear loose fitting, light colored, long-sleeve shirts and pants when mosquitoes are most active (during dusk and dawn).

· Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions to prevent mosquito bites.

· Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

· Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding.

· Contact Vector Control if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.

For general information about WNV in Imperial County please contact the Imperial County Public Health Department at (760) 482-4WNV or to report a problem with mosquitoes or a green pool please contact Environmental Health at (760) 336-8530.

For information about WNV, visit the Web site: http://www.westnile.ca.gov/ or http://www.icphd.com/environmental-health/bee—mosquitoes/west-nile-virus-information/

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