West Nile Virus: how to reduce the risk of being infected

07/15/2014 1:56 PM

07/15/2014 1:57 PM

West Nile Virus activity this year has been detected in several Central Valley counties including Fresno, Madera, Stanislaus and Tulare. This season, the first human infections were found in Contra Costa and San Joaquin counties, and so far a total of 8 human cases have been reported between Fresno, Tulare and Stanislaus counties combined.

While no West Nile Virus activity has been discovered in Merced, officials at the Mosquito Abatement District and California Department of Public Health have provided several tips on how to reduce the risk of being infected. Some of these include:

Staying indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

Using a repellent that contains the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus before going outdoors.

Making sure screens on windows and doors are in good shape to keep mosquitoes from entering your home.

Dumping or draining water that has been standing for more than three days to prevent mosquito breeding. Standing water can found in neglected swimming pools, birdbaths, pet dishes, tire swings and flower planters.

Last year, there were no reported human infections in Merced, but in 2012 there were 13. Some of the symptoms to keep an eye out for are: high fevers, severe headaches, neck stiffness and disorientation. A person bit by an infected mosquito can take up to three to 14 days to develop any symptoms. People who are most vulnerable of developing serious symptoms are people over 50. Officials ask people to seek medical attention if they begin to develop any West Nile Virus symptoms.

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Latest on health research and technology and how it could affect Merced. Info on upcoming health-related workshops and resources in the area. @ab_ibarra

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