Merced County Confirms First Local Human Case of West Nile Virus This Year: Where Was the First Case of West Nile Virus?

According to Merced County Mosquito Abatement District’s announcement on Wednesday, a Merced woman has been diagnosed with West Nile virus, making her the first local person to acquire the illness this year. According to a county press release, the West Nile virus has so far been found locally in 16 chickens, 12 mosquitoes pooled samples and one dead bird. The 70-year-old woman from Merced County is one of 35 people whose cases of the virus have been officially confirmed so far this year.

According to the announcement, the unnamed female reportedly has a neuroinvasive case. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the majority of West Nile infection sufferers don’t exhibit any symptoms (CDC). Infected people typically experience a fever along with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhoea, or a rash in 1 in 5 cases. The majority of patients fully recover, but weariness and weakness sometimes persist for weeks or months.

However, about 1 in 150 infected people experience a serious sickness that damages the central nervous system and results in encephalitis (brain inflammation) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord). According to the CDC, signs and symptoms of severe disease can include a high temperature, headache, stiff neck, stupor, confusion, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis. Even though severe sickness can strike anyone at any age, adults over 60 are more vulnerable.

 

Additionally, there is a higher risk for those who have certain illnesses like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and organ transplant recipients. However, about 1 in 150 infected people experience a serious sickness that damages the central nervous system and results in encephalitis (brain inflammation) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).

According to the CDC, signs and symptoms of severe disease can include a high temperature, headache, stiff neck, stupor, confusion, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis. Even though severe sickness can strike anyone at any age, adults over 60 are more vulnerable. Additionally, there is a higher risk for those who have certain illnesses like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and organ transplant recipients.

 Merced County Confirms First Local Human Case of West Nile Virus This Year

When an infected mosquito bites you, the West Nile virus is spread. Residents of Merce County are urged to take the following actions to lessen mosquito breeding and stop the virus’s spread:

  • Eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs.
  • Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, such as dawn and dusk.
  • Apply insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET when outdoors. In addition to DEET-based products, the CDC also recommends insect repellent containing oil of lemon eucalyptus and Picaridin.

The announcement stated that reporting and testing deceased birds aid in halting the spread of the West Nile virus. It helps to identify locations that need to be treated to limit mosquito activity when the virus has been confirmed in dead birds or mosquito samples.

Call the California State Hotline at 1-877-WNV-BIRD to report a dead bird, or you can report it online at www.westnile.gov. The Mosquito Abatement District has been identifying mosquito breeding sources and treating them as necessary with the ground or aerial spraying equipment. Neglected swimming pools, where West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes frequently lay their eggs, are especially concerning, according to the announcement.

The announcement stated that the District’s top priority for mosquito management is “public health safety.” Residents of Merced County can call the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District at (209) 722-1527 or visit www.mcmosquito.org to report mosquito breeding problem locations.

We accept anonymous reports. Contact the Merced County Department of Public Health with any queries regarding human infections and the West Nile virus at (209) 381-1200.

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