IMPERIAL COUNTY – The Imperial County Public Health Department announced today that an Imperial County male has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in preliminary tests and a confirmation from the State is pending.  This makes him the seventh human case since the WNV was first detected in the region in August 2003.  There have been no human fatalities due to WNV in Imperial County.  The individual was found to have West Nile after a visit to a local healthcare provider and is now recuperating at home. 
“It is important that people remember that although West Nile is not new to the area, everyone needs to continue taking the necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites such as wearing mosquito repellent and eliminating mosquito breeding sources around their homes,” said Stephen Munday, M.D., Health Officer.  “Although we are nearing the end of summer right now, we still have more warm weather ahead of us so we urge the public to continue taking personal precautions to protect themselves and their families from West Nile Virus.”
Most individuals who are infected with WNV will not experience any illness.  Others will have only mild symptoms, such as fever, headache and body aches.  However, WNV can be severe in the elderly and individuals with lowered immune systems. This year the State of California has reported a total of sixty-nine human cases of WNV, compared to thirty-three at the same time last year. 
WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite.  Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.  Human-to-human transmission of WNV generally does not occur.  However, human WNV infection was associated with blood transfusions and organ transplants in 2002. 
Individuals can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by taking the following precautions:
  • Limit time outdoors during dawn and early evening.
  • When outdoors, wear loose fitting, light colored, long-sleeve shirts and pants when mosquitoes are most active (during dusk and dawn).
  • Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions.
  • Make sure that doors and windows have tight fitting screens.  Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding, including broken or abandoned pools and fountains.
  • Contact Vector Control if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.
 
For general information about WNV in Imperial County please contact the Imperial County Public Health Department at (760) 482-4WNV or to report a problem with mosquitoes or to report a green pool please contact Environmental Health at (760) 336-8530.  For information about WNV, visit the Web site:  http://www.westnile.ca.gov/.
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María Peinado, Public Health Information Officer
Imperial County Public Health Department
935 Broadway, El Centro, CA 92243
Tel:  (760) 482-4461 Fax: ( 760)  352-9933
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