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First Human West Nile Virus Infection of 2012 Identified in Shasta County

Shasta County has its first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) this year, Public Health has learned. This person is the 217th human case of WNV in California this year. The patient was treated and released from a local hospital and is recovering at home.

Symptomatic West Nile Virus disease is uncommon, but if you have symptoms including high fever, severe headache, new unexplained confusion, or stiff neck, contact your health care provider immediately. Tell your doctor if you have had recent mosquito bites.

During the 2012 season, in Shasta County, the following positive WNV tests have been reported to the California Department of Public Health: four unvaccinated horses, 15 dead birds and 15 mosquito samples. The virus has been found in all parts of Shasta County, but the county has not had another human case of WNV reported since 2008. Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yolo counties have all reported human cases of WNV already this year.

“Wherever there are mosquitoes, everyone is at risk for West Nile Virus during this warm autumn,” said Health Officer Andrew Deckert, MD, MPH, of Shasta County Public Health. “We are happy that the patient is at home and recovering.”

WNV is almost always transmitted to people from the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not transmitted from person to person, nor from horses or other animals to humans. Shasta County residents are urged to make effective mosquito repellent a part of their regular outdoor routine.

The best way to avoid the virus is to prevent mosquito bites using the Four Ds:

•DRAIN standing water around the house weekly since it’s where mosquitoes lay eggs. This includes tires, cans, flower pots, clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, toys and puddles.
•DUSK & DAWN are when mosquitoes that carry the virus are most active, so limit outdoor activities or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
•DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in insect repellants. Always follow label instructions carefully.
•DRESS in long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk or in areas where mosquitoes are active.

To help fight West Nile Virus in Shasta County:
•Report significant mosquito problems to Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District (serving limited areas of the greater Redding area) at 365-3768 or www.shastamosquito.org, the Burney Mosquito Abatement District (serving Burney Basin) at 335-2133, the Pine Grove Mosquito Abatement District (serving Fall River Valley) at 336-5740.

•Report recently dead birds to the State hotline at 877 WNV BIRD (877-968-2473).

-from press release