Illustration via state of California

published on October 1, 2020 - 11:50 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Health officials announced Thursday that five human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in Tulare County.

Two of the cases are confirmed and three cases are probable, according to a news release from the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency.

Public health officials urge residents to take precautions against mosquito bites, as mosquito samples positive for West Nile Virus have been detected in multiple locations within the county. In addition, samples indicate that St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV) may also be present, posing a risk to the public.

“Due to this increased activity and these reported cases, we strongly encourage residents to use safeguards to reduce their risk of contracting both West Nile Virus and SLEV through mosquito bites,” stated Tulare County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught.

On Sept. 4, Madera County announced its first death from SLEV — the county’s first fatality since 1976 and the first in the state this year.

As of Sept. 25, Madera had three human cases of West Nile Virus, Fresno County had six, Kings County had one and Tulare County had two.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine or medication to treat the virus. Most people infected with West Nile will have no symptoms; however, about 1 in 5 people will develop a fever with other symptoms from 2 to 14 days after being infected. Severe cases of West Nile Virus can affect the central nervous system, resulting in meningitis and/or encephalitis, and can result in death or long-term disability.

The St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV) is in the same virus family as West Nile Virus. Both viruses are transmitted to humans when bitten by an infected mosquito. Most people infected with SLEV will have few to no symptoms. The most common symptoms are mild, flu-like symptoms, including fever and headache, from 5 to 15 days after being infected. Severe cases of SLEV can also affect the central nervous system, resulting in meningitis and/or encephalitis, and can result in death or long-term disability.

For more information about how to prevent mosquito-borne infections, visit http://westnile.ca.gov/


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