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First human cases of West Nile Virus in San Bernardino County

westnilevirusTwo human cases of West Nile Virus have been confirmed in the County of San Bernardino. These are the first confirmed human cases within the County this year. At this time last year, the County had a total of three confirmed cases and one death due to West Nile Virus. As of August 13, 2014, the California Department of Public Health has confirmed a total of 57 human cases and two deaths within the state due to West Nile Virus infection.

“We strongly encourage the public to be aware of the WNV activity in your area and take action to protect yourself and your family by taking appropriate precautionary measures,” said Maxwell Ohikhuare, M.D., County of San Bernardino Health Officer. “People over 50 years old should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract WNV.”

West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of West Nile Virus 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 West Nile Virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.

County of San Bernardino citizens 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.

The public can participate in the West Nile Virus surveillance program by reporting dead birds to the State West Nile Virus toll-free hotline at (877) WNV – BIRD (968-2473) or at www.westnile.ca.gov.

For more information on West Nile Virus, visit the Mosquito and Vector Control Program at www.sbcounty.gov/dehs, or call the Communicable Disease Section (CDS) at 1 (800) 722-4794. Continuous health information on West Nile Virus and other health topics can be found on the CDS Facebook page at http://www.facebook/CommunicableDiseaseSection .

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