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13 more cases suspsected, including 2 deaths as outbreak widens

County News Service

October 8, 2015 (San Diego) – Five new patients are confirmed to have been infected with West Nile virus, bringing the total number of people who have contracted the mosquito-driven disease this year to 11. These include  the second fatality this year localy---a 73-year-old El Cajon man who died October 4.

One newly confirmed case was detected after a routine blood donation last week by a 56-year-old San Diego woman had symptoms consistent with the virus, and three other cases confirmed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in patients who were hospitalized in September: a 77-year-old San Diego woman, a 53-year-old San Diego man, and a 60-year-old Ramona woman.

In addition, there are 13 suspected San Diego County cases pending confirmation by CDPH, including two suspected deaths.

“These unfortunate deaths are a strong reminder that West Nile virus is a potentially deadly disease, and is active in our region,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H, County public health officer. “It’s important that the public continue taking precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, which transmit West Nile virus.”

The county had its highest number of confirmed human cases in 2008, when 37 cases were recorded.

County public health and environmental health officials continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action to reduce the number of mosquitoes with West Nile virus. They urge people to protect themselves from mosquitoes and help prevent the pests from breeding by following the County’s “Prevent, Protect, Report” recommendations.

As of October 8, San Diego County West Nile Virus Watch reported:

  • 11 confirmed human cases, including two deaths and one asymptomatic case detected via blood donation (compared to 11 cases, including two deaths, in 2014 plus two asymptomatic blood donation cases)
  • 254 dead infected birds recovered (compared to 41 in 2014)
  • 33 batches of infected mosquitoes collected (compared to 6 in 2014)

For a complete breakdown of this year’s statistics, go to San Diego County Department of Environmental Health’s West Nile Activity Web page.

Prevent, Protect, Report

Prevent Mosquito Breeding: Dump out or remove any item inside or outside of homes that can hold water, such as plant saucers, rain gutters, buckets, garbage cans, toys, old tires, and wheelbarrows. Mosquito fish, available for free by contacting the Environmental Health Vector Control Program, may be used to control mosquito breeding in backyard water sources such as unused swimming pools, ponds, fountains and horse troughs.

Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites: Protect yourself from West Nile virus by staying inside when most mosquitoes are most active, at dusk and dawn. Wear long sleeves and pants or use repellent when outdoors. Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition and secured to keep insects out.

Report Dead Birds and Green Swimming Pools: Report dead crows, ravens, jays, hawks and owls, and green swimming pools to the Environmental Health Vector Control Program by calling (858) 694-2888 or emailing vector@sdcounty.ca.gov.

For more information about West Nile virus, go to San Diego County’s “Fight the Bite” website.

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