Two Calif. Residents Have Died From West Nile Virus, Officials Say
On Wednesday, the California Department of Public Health announced that two individuals in the state have died after contracting West Nile virus this year, the San Jose Mercury News reports. They are the first reported deaths this year related to the illness.
The recently reported deaths include:
- An elderly individual in Sacramento County; and
- An adult in Shasta County (San Jose Mercury News, 8/6).
Details of West Nile Virus
The West Nile virus is contracted by humans through mosquito bites (Janes, KXTV-Sacramento/USA Today, 8/7). Symptoms can include a high fever, severe headache and a stiff neck.
According to a statewide database, at least 35 human cases of the virus have been reported in California so far this year (Rocha, Los Angeles Times, 8/6). Seven other cases are being investigated for links to West Nile Virus.
Fewer than 1% of exposed individuals develop a serious neurologic condition, although individuals over the age of 50 or those with diabetes or hypertension are at the greatest risk, state officials said (KXTV-Sacramento/USA Today, 8/7).
In 2013, 15 California residents died from the West Nile virus (Los Angeles Times, 8/6).
Public health officials are encouraging Californians to avoid infection by:
- Applying insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil;
- Avoiding going outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitos are most active;
- Disposing of standing water, which can support mosquito breeding; and
- Ensure that screens on doors and windows fit tightly, and repairing or replacing those with holes or tears (KXTV-Sacramento/USA Today, 8/7).