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West Nile virus found in mosquitoes in San Diego County



SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA – West Nile Virus first visited the summer in San Diego County this week as a batch of mosquitoes in Santee tested positive for viral infection, district officials announced Wednesday.

West Nile virus mainly affects birds, but it can be transmitted by mosquitoes that feed on an infected animal and then bite humans.

Officials said the West Nile virus has been present in San Diego County since 2003. No humans or birds – the main carriers of the West Nile virus – tested positive for the virus in the county this year.

Only about 20 percent of people infected with the West Nile virus suffer from symptoms, although in rare cases, they can be fatal. The symptoms are usually mild, including headache, fever, nausea, fatigue, rash or swollen glands.

County officials recommend residents prevent mosquito breeding by removing or periodically cleaning items outside of homes that may hold stagnant water, including saucers, gutters, buckets, garbage cans, toys, old tires and wheelbarrows. Mosquito fish, available free of charge from the County's Vector Control Program, can be used to control mosquito exploits in backyard water sources such as unused swimming pools, ponds, fountains and horse pens.

"One of the most important things people can do is to find and dump the stagnant water that they see inside and outside their homes so mosquitoes can not reproduce," said Elise Rothschild, director of the Department of Environmental Health.

Officials also recommend wearing long sleeves and trousers as outdoors with repellent. Make sure that screens on windows and doors are in good condition and secured to keep insects out.

Last year, two district residents were tested positive for the virus, according to officials. Both people recovered.

Across California, however, 600 people were tested positive for the virus in 201

7 and 44 people died. In Los Angeles County, 268 people were tested positive and 27 people died.

Mosquito activity, or neglected, green swimming pools and other sources of mosquito breeding, reportedly increased the County's Vector Control Program at 858-694-2888 or vector @ sdcounty.ca.gov.

Image about Shutterstock

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