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West Nile Count Rises to Twelve

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During the past week, one locally-acquired human case of West Nile virus (WNV) has been confirmed along with 19 dead birds, eight positive batches of mosquitoes and two infected sentinel chickens.

The County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) and Department of Environmental Health Vector Control reported these findings from Sept. 1 to Sept. 7, 2008.

A 20-year-old Mira Mesa man has been diagnosed with meningitis; he was hospitalized, has been discharged and is improving.

The sentinel chickens, mosquitoes and dead birds including 17 American crows, one Western Scrub Jay and one Stellar’s Jay were found in Camp Pendleton, Chollas View, Encinitas, El Cajon, Julian, Kearny Mesa, Mountain View, Oceanside, Poway, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach, Spring Valley, Sorrento Valley, Torrey Hills, Valencia Park and Vista.

2008 to-date case counts include:

  • 12 locally-acquired human cases
  • 11 locally-acquired cases
  • 1 non-locally-acquired case
  • 380 dead birds
  • 10 positive sentinel chickens
  • 1 horse death
  • 21 positive mosquito batches

“WNV cases are being diagnosed all over California but especially in Southern California,” said Dean Sidelinger M.D., M.S. Ed., Deputy County Public Health Officer.

“Most people won’t experience any symptoms, but one in 150 will develop serious neurological conditions such as meningitis. Take steps now to protect against contracting WNV.”

“Vector Control investigations have turned up positive mosquito batches in the vicinity of several of the WNV human victims,” said Gary Erbeck, Director, San Diego County Department of Environmental Health.

The public is urged to use insect repellent when outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active; use insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535; do not sleep outside, unprotected, while camping; wear long sleeves and pants; and ensure screens on windows and doors fit tightly and have no holes or other damage.

“Mosquitoes breed in water, so it’s important to clean up mosquito breeding sources on your property and report green pools to Vector Control.”

Most people infected with WNV do not develop any symptoms or become seriously ill. Nearly one in five who do fall ill may suffer from headache, fever, nausea, fatigue, skin rash or swollen glands. Approximately one in 150 people infected with WNV develop more serious neurological effects such as meningitis, encephalitis or myelitis.

If you suspect you have WNV, contact your healthcare provider.

The County’s WNV Web site, www.SDFighttheBite.com, features a mosquito prevention checklist that includes the most common backyard breeding sources, from birdbaths to wheelbarrows. Residents should check their property weekly for mosquito breeding sources.

For more information or to report dead birds or green pools, please call the County’s WNV information line toll free at (888) 551-INFO (4636).