SACRAMENTO – A
37-year-old man and an 86-year-old
man, both from Kern County, are the
first reported fatalities from West
Nile virus (WNV) this year, Dr. Ron
Chapman, director of the California
Department of Public Health, announced
“These unfortunate deaths remind us of the
potential danger from mosquito bites
and West Nile virus,” Chapman said. To
date in 2011, 88 human cases of WNV from
18 California counties have been reported.
Last year 111 cases and six fatalities
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans
and animals through a mosquito bite.
The risk of serious illness to most people
is low. However, some individuals – less
than 1 percent – will develop serious
neurologic illness such as encephalitis
or meningitis. Individuals 50 years of
age and older have a higher chance of getting
sick and are more likely to develop serious
symptoms. Studies also show that those
with diabetes and/or hypertension are at
greatest risk for serious illness.
Chapman said that the most effective
way for individuals to prevent exposure
mosquito bites and West Nile virus
is to remember the “Four D’s”:
- DEET – Apply
insect repellent containing DEET,
picaradin, oil of
lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according
to label instructions. Repellents
keep the mosquitoes from biting
can be used safely on infants and
children 2 months of age and older.
- DRESS – Wear
clothing that reduces the risk
of skin exposure
to mosquito bites.
AND DUSK – Mosquitoes
that carry WNV bite in the early morning
and evening so it is important to wear
repellent at this time. Make sure that
your doors and windows have tight-fitting
screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair
or replace screens with tears or holes.
- DRAIN – Mosquitoes
lay their eggs on standing water.
sources of standing water on your property,
including flower pots, old car tires,
rain gutters and pet bowls. If you
have a pond, use mosquito fish (available
from your local mosquito and vector
control agency) or commercially available
products to eliminate mosquito larvae.
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 Web site or
toll-free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473)