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Human West Nile Virus Cases Reach Five Total

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August 18, 2008

Another confirmed locally-acquired human case of West Nile virus (WNV) brings the year-to-date total to five, according to the County Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA).

A 65-year-old Chula Vista woman was hospitalized with meningitis after developing symptoms consistent with WNV infection, and is now recovering at home.

“West Nile virus can have lasting effects in some people, including paralysis and nerve damage,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer.

The other four cases include a 24-year-old San Diego man, a 38-year-old Carlsbad woman, a 58-year-old Del Mar woman and a 52-year-old East San Diego County man.

“West Nile virus knows no boundaries,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S. Ed., County Deputy Public Health Officer. “People can catch it in any part of the county."

In 2007, 15 people tested positive for locally-acquired WNV.

Precautions include using insect repellent when outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active; using insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535; not sleeping outside, unprotected, while camping; wearing long sleeves and pants; and ensuring screens on windows and doors fit tightly and have no holes or other damage.

Most people infected with WNV do not develop any symptoms or become seriously ill. Nearly one in five who do fall ill may suffer from headache, fever, nausea, fatigue, skin rash or swollen glands. The risk of complications increases for those over age 50.

If you suspect you have WNV, contact your healthcare provider. If you have no healthcare provider, call HHSA’s Community Epidemiology Branch at (619) 515-6620.

HHSA is working closely with the County Department of Environmental Health (DEH), which continues its WNV control activities to check for and eradicate possible sources of the virus in San Diego County.

A total of 262 dead birds and eight sentinel chickens have tested positive for WNV this year, one horse has died and 10 positive mosquito pools have been identified.

For more information or to report dead birds, please call the County’s WNV information line toll free at (888) 551-INFO (4636) or visit

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