By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Two human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) have been confirmed in San Bernardino County as of August 3. These are the first confirmed human cases within the County this year. The two cases are both elderly males who are now under medical care. The California Department of Public Health has reported increased West Nile virus activity across the state.
“We strongly encourage the public to be aware of the WNV activity in your area and take precautions to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites,” said San Bernardino County Health Officer Maxwell Ohikhuare, M.D. “Although, the risk of serious illness to most people is low, in some people, WNV infection can cause serious disease and can be fatal.”
West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of WNV may include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache. Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms. However, some people may develop severe symptoms which can lead to brain inflammation or paralysis. The most effective way to avoid WNV infection is to prevent mosquito bites.
San Bernardino County residents can protect themselves from mosquito bites by taking the following precautions:
- DAWN and DUSK – Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active.
- DRESS – Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.
- DRAIN – Remove or drain all standing water around your property where mosquitoes lay eggs (birdbaths, ponds, old tires, buckets, clogged gutters or puddles from leaky sprinklers).
- DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET. When using DEET, be sure to read and follow the label instructions.
- DOORS – Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home.
County residents can participate in the WNV surveillance program by reporting dead birds to the State’s WNV toll-free hotline at 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or at www.westnile.ca.gov.
For more information on WNV, visit the Mosquito and Vector Control Program or call the Communicable Disease Section (CDS) at 1-800-722-4794.