California

West Nile disease strikes in Stanislaus County. Here’s what you need to know

How to stay safe from mosquitoes

Zika and West Nile viruses are both transmitted by mosquitoes. Officials from public health and from Sacramento-Yolo vector control explain how to protect yourself from bites.
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Zika and West Nile viruses are both transmitted by mosquitoes. Officials from public health and from Sacramento-Yolo vector control explain how to protect yourself from bites.

Stanislaus County health officials have reported a serious case of west Nile illness as prime conditions for the virus create a threat to the public.

The patient was only identified as a female in the news release Wednesday from the county Health Services Agency.

She was diagnosed with the potentially deadly neuroinvasive disease, which can result in long-term disabilities.

People may come down with symptoms of the endemic west Nile virus after they’re bitten by infected mosquitoes. According to health agencies, 1 in 5 will have symptoms including headache and fever possibly lasting for several weeks.

Less than 1 percent are stricken with encephalitis or meningitis with symptoms of high fever, mental confusion, tremors, paralysis, coma or death.

“Because there is no vaccine and no specific treatment, it is very important that people take precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Julie Vaishampayan, the county’s public health officer.

The county often sees cases of West Nile illness in the summertime. The virus thrives in hot weather conditions. Neglected swimming pools and standing water create places where mosquitoes can multiply in large numbers to spread the virus.

The county news release said adults 50 years or older have a greater chance of developing symptoms or serious illness. Other risk factors are diabetes or other forms of chronic illness.

The Health Services Agency urged the public to avoid exposure to mosquito bites. The standard precautions include insect repellent when outdoors or wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts in the early morning and evening, when mosquitoes are most active.

Local residents can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes by removing water from flower pots, rain gutters and pet bowls.

The public can report mosquito problems to the East Side Mosquito Abatement District (north of the Tuolumne River) by calling 209-522-4098 or the Turlock Mosquito Abatement District at 209-634-1234.

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