First Human West Nile Virus Cases Confirmed In Kern

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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A 46 year-old female resident and 67 year-old male resident are the first two human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Kern County to test positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) with symptoms this year, according to Claudia Jonah, M.D., Public Health Officer for Kern County.

Both residents exhibited symptoms consistent with West Nile fever, which can include fever, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Onset of symptoms occurred in late June to early July for the male resident and mid-July for the female resident. Both have since recovered and were never hospitalized.

Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. Of the people who do develop illness, they usually begin experiencing symptoms from 5 to 15 days after they are bitten by an infected mosquito.

“We are grateful that the cases we have confirmed this year so far are few and mild,” explains Dr. Jonah. “However, depending on who becomes infected, there are occasions in which this illness can become deadly. No one can predict if they will be one of the few to become severely ill from this virus. Therefore, it is extremely important to protect ourselves, our children and the elderly from exposure by preventing mosquito bites and by removing sources for mosquito breeding around our homes.”

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WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Mosquito borne illnesses are preventable and residents can do their part to achieve this goal. Dr. Jonah urges all Kern County citizens to reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by following the 3 D’s of WNV Prevention:

DUSK/DAWN: Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and the first two hours after sunset. Also make sure that the screens on your doors/windows are properly placed and secure and use protective clothing if going outdoors.

DEET: Apply insect repellant containing DEET according to label instructions.

DRAIN: Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.

Contact your local mosquito and vector control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.

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