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Human West Nile Virus Cases Continue Rise

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Mosquito

November 18, 2008

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency and the County Department of Environmental Health Vector Control report one new confirmed locally-acquired human case of West Nile virus (WNV), eight dead birds, and one batch of mosquitoes.  The reporting period is from Nov. 9 to Nov. 17, 2008.

The new case is a 49-year-old El Cajon man diagnosed with West Nile fever. He was hospitalized, was discharged and is improving. The dead birds (eight American Crows) were found in Carmel Valley, Escondido, Fallbrook, Pacific Beach, and Valley Center.

Total human case count for 2007 was 15. 2008 to-date case counts include:

  • 32 human cases (30 locally-acquired cases; one non-locally-acquired case; one locally-acquired case who was a blood donor with no symptoms)
  • 543 dead birds
  • 15 positive sentinel chickens
  • 4 horse deaths
  • 1 infected horse
  • 40 positive mosquito batches

Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H, County of San Diego Public Health Officer, and Gary Erbeck, Director, County Department of Environmental Health Vector Control, urge the public to take the following steps to protect themselves against WNV:

  • 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
  • Ensure screens on windows and doors fit tightly and have no holes or other damage
  • Check your property weekly for mosquito breeding sources; go to www.SDFighttheBite.com for a mosquito prevention checklist
  • Report green pools to County 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.

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).