West Nile Virus - First Confirmed Case in California for 2012

mosquito graphic - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the first confirmed case of West Nile virus infection for the 2012 season. The infected person is a 70-year old woman from Kern County. She was hospitalized, but is on the way to recovery. So far in 2012, there has been West Nile virus identified in 15 California counties.

Dr. Ron Chapman, state health officer and director of CDPH, said that the first case of West Nile virus infection of the season is a reminder for people to be careful and protect themselves and others against mosquito bites. He adds that the West Nile virus activity is at its peak in the summer months.

West Nile virus is usually transmitted from the bite of an infected mosquito. Humans and animals could become infected if bitten by the infected mosquito. The CDPH say that the risk for suffering a serious illness from the West Nile virus is low for most people.

However, people over the age of 50 have an increased risk for becoming ill. People with diabetes and/or high blood pressure (hypertension) might also be at an increased risk for falling ill. These people are at a higher risk of developing a serious complications such as encephalitis or meningitis. The chance of developing a neurologic complication is less than one percent.

The CDPH suggest people follow the “Three Ds” to prevent from being exposed to the virus.

DEET - The first “D” is for Deet, which is an insect repellent that contains either DEET, picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. THE CDPH say that DEET is safe for infants and children over the age of 2 months.

Dawn and Dusk - The second “D” is to make sure to wear appropriate clothing and repelling between “Dawn and Dusk.” Additionally, they suggest checking to make sure that window and door screens fit tightly and do not have holes in them. If they do, homeowners should repair or replace them.

Drain – The third “D” is to drain standing water. Water sitting around outside is a breeding ground for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. This creates more mosquitoes. So if there is water, drain it out. If a homeowner has a swimming pool, it needs to be properly maintained. If the swimming pool has not been maintained, the CDPH suggest contacting the local mosquito and vector control agency for assistance.

More information is available at http://www.westnile.ca.gov/. This website discusses the number of human cases and the amount of indentified the number West Nile virus infections in mosquitoes for each county.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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