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County Worker Shares Story as He Fights West Nile Virus

Human West Nile Cases Double Last Year's Total

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October 28, 2008

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), and the County Department of Environmental Health Vector Control report four new confirmed locally-acquired human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) and 14 dead birds.  The reporting period is from Oct. 20 to Oct. 26, 2008.

Cases include:

  • 65-year-old Serra Mesa man diagnosed with encephalitis
  • 42-year-old Rolando man diagnosed with meningitis
  • 74-year-old Escondido man diagnosed with encephalitis
  • 54-year-old El Cajon man with no symptoms diagnosed after donating blood

The 74-year-old is hospitalized. The 65-year-old and 42-year-old were hospitalized and discharged, and are improving. The dead birds including 14 American crows were found in Bonita, Chula Vista, City Heights, Del Mar, Escondido, Lakeside, National City, Poway, Ramona, Sorrento Mesa, Torrey Hills, University City, and Valley Center.

Total human case count for 2007 was 15. 2008 to-date case counts include:

  • 30 human cases (29 locally-acquired cases, 1 non-locally-acquired case)
  • 525 dead birds
  • 14 positive sentinel chickens
  • 4 horse deaths
  • 1 infected horse
  • 38 positive mosquito batches

Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H, County of San Diego Public Health Officer, and Gary Erbeck, Director, County Department of Environmental Health Vector Control, urge the public to take the following steps to protect themselves against WNV:

  • Use insect repellent when outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active
  • Use insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535
  • Do not sleep outside, unprotected, while camping; wear long sleeves and pants
  • Ensure screens on windows and doors fit tightly and have no holes or other damage
  • Check your property weekly for mosquito breeding sources; go to for a mosquito prevention checklist
  • Report green pools to County Vector Control

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. Approximately one in 150 people infected with WNV develop more serious neurological effects such as meningitis, encephalitis or myelitis. If you suspect you have WNV, contact your healthcare provider.

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

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