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Two New Human West Nile Virus Cases

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December 2, 2008

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency and the County Department of Environmental Health Vector Control report two new confirmed locally-acquired human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) and six new dead birds.  The reporting period is from Nov. 23 to Dec. 1, 2008.

A 46-year-old Escondido man was diagnosed with meningitis, hospitalized and discharged to a rehabilitation facility, where he is improving. An 80-year-old Poway woman was diagnosed with encephalitis and was hospitalized. The dead birds including one Pink Pigeon, one Common Raven, two Cooper’s Hawks and two American Crows, were found in Carlsbad, Escondido, Mira Mesa, Valley Center and Vista.

Total human case count for 2007 was 15. 2008 cases include:

  • 34 human cases (32 locally-acquired, 1 non-locally-acquired, 1 locally-acquired case who was a blood donor with no symptoms)
  • 549 dead birds
  • 15 positive sentinel chickens
  • 4 horse deaths
  • 1 infected horse
  • 40 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).