Siskiyou County Public Health Officer Dr. Stephen Kolpacoff reported in a press release that the first human case of West Nile virus has presented in Siskiyou County.
The infected Siskiyou County resident is recovering from the effects of the neuroinvasive form of the disease and the county is not yet able to determine where the individual contracted West Nile, according to the release.
The risk for infection for humans, horses, and other mammals increases summer progresses into fall. The release suggests the following “Four Ds” precautions be taken to reduce the risk of mosquito bites and West Nile infection:
• DEET – Use DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. These are the EPA approved mosquito repellents to prevent bites. Be sure to follow package instructions for age of person and how to apply;
• Dawn and Dusk – Avoid going outdoors at dawn and dusk when the mosquitoes that carry WNV are most active;
• Doors/windows – Ensure screens on doors and windows are not broken or torn; and,
• Drain – Drain all standing water around the outside of your house. Gutters, jar lids, tires, and flower pot trays are common places where water collects.
Approximately one in five people infected with WNV develop symptoms, such as fever, headaches, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Symptoms typically develop from 3 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Less than one percent of infected people will develop a serious neurologic illness, but people over age 50 and those with compromised immune systems are at risk of developing more serious symptoms, such as meningitis (inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues), encephalitis, or paralysis, according to the release.
Additional information about West Nile virus and activity around the state by county can be found on the State of California West Nile virus webpage: www.westnile.ca.gov.
For more information contact Siskiyou County Public Health at 530-841-2134.