CDPH Reports First Human West Nile Virus Fatalities This Summer
By Gazette Staff Writer — Monday, August 18th, 2014
SACRAMENTO – The first two deaths this summer due to West Nile virus infection have been confirmed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) it was announced today by Dr. Ron Chapman, CDPH Director and state public health officer. The first was a senior citizen from Sacramento County. The second was an adult from Shasta County.
“These unfortunate deaths remind us that we must protect ourselves from mosquito bites to prevent West Nile virus and other mosquito born infections,” said Chapman. “West Nile virus activity is greatest during the summertime.”
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. The risk of serious illness to most people is low. However, some individuals – less than one percent – can develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. People 50 years of age and older have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop complications. Recent data also indicate that those with diabetes and/or hypertension are at greatest risk for serious illness.
To date in 2014, West Nile virus has been detected in 36 California counties.
CDPH recommends that individuals prevent exposure to mosquito bites and West Nile virus by practicing the “Three Ds:”
1. DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.
California’s West Nile virus website includes the latest information on West Nile virus activity in the state. Californians are encouraged to report all dead birds and dead tree squirrels on the website or by calling toll-free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473).