Yolo reports first human case of West Nile in 2022

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A Yolo County resident is recovering from neuroinvasive West Nile virus after becoming ill last month — the county’s first confirmed human case of the virus in 2022.

West Nile is spread to humans by mosquito bites and 80 percent of those infected will not show any symptoms. However, for the other 20 percent, symptoms usually appear between two and 14 days after being bitten and can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a rash on the chest, stomach and back.

About one in 150 people infected with West Nile virus will develop severe illness with symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

People over the age of 50 and those who have diabetes or hypertension are more likely to develop serious symptoms of West Nile virus and should take special care to avoid mosquito bites, the county said in announcing the case on Wednesday.

“West Nile virus is spread to people by the bite of a mosquito, and there is a risk of contracting West Nile virus in Yolo County this time of year when mosquitoes are active,” said Yolo County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson. “By making regular checks of their yards and draining standing water, people can help cut down on mosquito breeding areas. Wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent will also reduce the risk of mosquito bites.”

The best way to prevent West Nile virus infection and other mosquito-borne illnesses is to prevent the bite of an infected mosquito. The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District recommends the following steps:

* DRAIN any standing water that may produce mosquitoes.
* DAWN and DUSK are when mosquitoes are most active.
* DRESS appropriately by wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
* DEFEND yourself against mosquitoes by using an effective insect repellent, such as DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Make sure you follow all label directions.
* DOOR and window screens should be in good working condition. This will prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
* DISTRICT personnel are available to address any mosquito problem you may be experiencing by calling 1-800-429-1022 or visit www.fightthebite.net.

Statewide, there have been seven human cases of West Nile reported through the end of July, all in four counties — Yolo, Stanislaus, Kings and Kern counties.

So far during this season, the local vector control district has found seven mosquito samples positive for West Nile in Yolo County and three dead birds that carried the virus.

All three birds were found in the city of Davis, including the most recent one, an American Crow on July 30.

The vector control district urges residents who see a dead bird, particularly a crow or magpie that lacks signs of trauma and has been dead for less than 24 hours, to call 1-877-968-2473 to report it.

Crows and magpies are particularly susceptible to the disease so they make for an early warning sentinel for virus activity in the area, the district reported.

For more information, visit www.fightthebite.net.

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