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Human Case of West Nile Virus Reported in Lake County

LAKEPORT, CA (July 30, 2014) – A Lake County resident has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).  In addition, eighteen mosquito samples and five dead birds have been found infected with WNV this year in Lake County.

“West Nile virus activity is higher than it was a year ago at this time.  With the hot days and nighttime lows in the upper 60s, conditions are perfect for the virus to continue multiplying,” said Jamesina Scott, Ph.D., District Manager and Research Director of the Lake County Vector Control District.  “Mosquitoes develop faster in the heat, so it’s important for residents to drain any standing water in their yards where the mosquitoes can develop.”

Five human cases of West Nile virus infection have been detected in Lake County since 2004; the last human case was in 2012.  Statewide, 35 California counties have detected WNV this year, mainly in mosquitoes and dead birds.  Nineteen other human cases have been reported in California this year.

While less than one percent of individuals (about 1 in 150 people) infected with West Nile virus will develop severe illness from West Nile virus infection, the disease can cause symptoms that can last for several weeks, and neurologic effects can be permanent.  In some individuals, the infection can be fatal.  People over age 50 and diabetics are at risk for the more severe forms of the disease.

“Our goal in Lake County is to keep West Nile Virus illness in humans as close to zero as possible,” says Lake County Health Officer, Dr. Karen Tait.  “Prevention of mosquito bites is how this illness is avoided.  People need to consistently take precautions.   We are fortunate to have a strong partnership between Public Health and Lake County Vector Control District, which helps us identify and intervene in areas of increased West Nile Virus activity.”

“We are continuing to test mosquitoes and dead birds throughout the county” said Dr. Scott.  “We are looking for standing water where the mosquitoes develop and working with property owners to drain the water when possible, or using mosquito-eating fish or biorational larvicides to prevent new mosquitoes from emerging.” 

To reduce your risk of mosquito bites and West Nile virus:

  • Drain any standing water that may produce mosquitoes.
  • Defend yourself and your home by using an effective insect repellent, dressing protectively when outside, and making sure screens on doors and windows are in good condition.
  • Contact the District for any additional help controlling mosquitoes around your home.

Common mosquito sources in Lake County include out-of-service swimming pools and spas, animal watering troughs, ornamental ponds, and other sources of standing water.  The District has free mosquito-eating fish to control mosquitoes in these sources. 

Residents are encouraged to contact the District to report neglected pools, request service for mosquito problems, or to get mosquito fish at 263-4770 or to fill out a service request online at www.lcvcd.org.

For more information about West Nile virus, visit http://www.westnile.ca.gov/.  Information about mosquito repellents can be found on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html.