County News Service
July 27, 2014 (Santee)-A 43-year-old Santee man has the first confirmed local case of West Nile virus this year, the County Health and Human Services Agency reports. There has not been a human case of the disease in San Diego County since 2012.
The disease, which is transmitted by mosquito bites, was detected during routine screening of blood that the man donated. He did not recall any mosquito bites lately, but may have been bitten while camping outside the state recently.
The County’s Department of Environmental Health Vector Control Program is inspecting for potential mosquito breeding locations near the man’s home and setting up mosquito monitoring traps in the surrounding areas of Santee.
Wilma Wooten, the County’s Public Health Officer, says a dead crow tested positive for West Nile Virus in the city of San Diego last week, so the virus is definitely in our region. She adds, “It’s important for the public to know West Nile virus is a dangerous and potentially deadly disease.”
The California Department of Public Health reported 15 deaths related to West Nile virus- in the state last year.
Of those who become infected with West Nile virus, 80 percent will have no symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop only a mild illness that includes a headache, fever, nausea, fatigue, skin rash or swollen glands. Less than 1 percent of those infected will have serious neurologic complications that can be life threatening. The risk of complications increases for those over age 50, and for people with weakened immune systems.
Health officials urge people to protect themselves by practicing “Prevent, Protect, Report.”
- Prevent Mosquito Breeding: Dump out or remove any backyard item that can hold water, such as plant saucers, rain gutters, buckets, garbage cans, toys, old tires and wheelbarrows. Mosquito fish, available for free from Vector Control, may be used to control mosquito breeding in backyard water sources such as neglected swimming pools, ponds, fountains and water troughs.
- Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites: Protect yourself from West Nile virus by staying inside when mosquitoes are most active, between dusk and dawn. Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors. Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of eucalyptus when outside. Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition and secured.
- Report dead crows, ravens, jays, hawks and owls, and green swimming pools to the Vector Control Program at (858) 694-2888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also download the "Fight the Bite!" app to anonymously report green swimming pools, mosquito breeding areas and dead birds. For more information about West Nile Virus, go to San Diego County’s “Fight the Bite” website.