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California News

West Nile is a growing threat this summer in California. here’s why

West Nile virus infections are on the rise this year in California after a particularly wet winter led to increased mosquito breeding, according to health experts.

The state had 55 human cases of the virus as of August 25. Five of them were fatal, according to California’s Mosquito-Borne Virus Surveillance and Response Program. This is more than double the 24 cases that occurred in 2022 by the end of August of the same year.

In total in 2022, there were 207 cases and 15 deaths.

Among the latest infections in California, a woman from Orange tested positive for West Nile virus this week, becoming the first human case in Orange County this year, according to the county health agency. The Orange resident had no symptoms.

Last year, there were 11 human infections with the virus and two virus-related deaths in Orange County.

In Los Angeles County, two human cases have been reported so far this year.

West Nile virus cases are on the rise in the state.

(San Diego County Office of Communications)

“West Nile Virus… [recurs] each year during the summer months and into the fall,” Matthew Zahn, deputy chief health officer for the OC Health Care Agency, said in a press release. “The best way to avoid West Nile virus infection is to take precautionary measures to avoid mosquito bites. »

Experts at UC Davis Health said record rainfall over the winter has led to an increase in mosquito numbers, leading to increased West Nile virus activity as temperatures rise. The disease was first discovered in Africa before being discovered in the United States in 1999 and in California in 2003.

Most people infected with the virus do not get sick, but about 20 percent experience symptoms including fever, headache, body aches, nausea, rash and fatigue, the statement said. Some people may experience severe headaches, confusion, stiff neck, and muscle weakness. People 50 and older are at higher risk of serious complications.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, experts recommend emptying out any standing water around your home, including in flower pots and pet bowls, to reduce breeding grounds for insects. Also make sure door and window screens are in good condition, use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil, limit outdoor activities at dusk and dawn – when mosquitoes are the most active – and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors. .

California Daily Newspapers

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