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Two More Human West Nile Cases Reported

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August 25, 2008

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reports two more confirmed locally-acquired human cases of West Nile virus (WNV). The additional cases bring the year to date total cases to seven.

A 53-year-old Central San Diego man was hospitalized with myelitis (loss of nerve function to lower legs) and a 48-year-old El Cajon woman was hospitalized with meningitis after developing symptoms consistent with WNV infection. The man is in rehab; the woman is recovering at home. The other cases include a 24-year-old San Diego man, a 38-year-old Carlsbad woman, a 58-year-old Del Mar woman, a 52-year-old East San Diego County man and a 65-year-old Chula Vista woman.

 “We urge the public to take precautions, such as using insect repellent, to prevent the spread of West Nile virus,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “Though most people display no symptoms, it can result in serious health complications for some.” 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 285 dead birds and eight sentinel chickens have tested positive for WNV this year, one horse has died and 12 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 the County’s web site at