Health

West Nile Virus Update: 30 Cases, Five Deaths

The number of people in San Diego County who have tested positive for West Nile virus — confirmed and probable cases — this year has increased to 30 including five deaths, County officials said Wednesday. 

That number is an increase from 22 people a week ago and includes a newly confirmed death, County Health and Human Services Agency officials said. The 30 cases include 27 confirmed human cases including four deaths, three that were previously reported, and three probable cases, including one previously reported death.

The California Department of Public Health uses patient symptoms and blood and spinal fluid tests to classify possible West Nile virus cases as “confirmed,” “probable,” “suspected” or “not a case.” For public reporting, state public health and the County consider both “confirmed” and “probable” cases as West Nile virus infections.

The latest confirmed death was a 62-year-old San Diego man, who died Oct. 15.

At the start of September, San Diego County had just one confirmed human case. This week County public health and environmental health vector control officials reminded people to follow the County’s “Prevent, Protect, Report” guidelines to protect themselves from mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus to humans from infected birds and animals.

As of Oct. 28, the County reported:

  • 27 confirmed human cases, including four deaths and two people who did not suffer illness but were screened when volunteering to donate blood.
  • Three probable human cases, including one death
  • Nine suspected human cases (with state tests pending)
  • 303 dead infected birds recovered
  • 45 batches of infected mosquitoes collected
  • Nine sentinel chickens testing positive for West Nile virus

Prevent, Protect, Report:

Prevent Mosquito Breeding: Dump out or remove any item inside or outside of homes that can hold water, such as plant saucers, rain gutters, buckets, garbage cans, toys, old tires, and wheelbarrows. Mosquito fish, available for free by contacting the Environmental Health Vector Control Program, may be used to control mosquito breeding in backyard water sources such as unused swimming pools, ponds, fountains and horse troughs.

Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites: Protect yourself from West Nile virus by staying inside when most mosquitoes are most active, at dusk and dawn. Wear long sleeves and pants or use repellent when outdoors. Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition and secured to keep insects out.

Report Dead Birds and Green Swimming Pools: Report dead crows, ravens, jays, hawks and owls, and green swimming pools to the Environmental Health Vector Control Program by calling (858) 694-2888 or emailing vector@sdcounty.ca.gov.

For more information about West Nile virus, go to San Diego County’s “Fight the Bite” website.

 

 

 

Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact