By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced Friday the first confirmed death in California due to West Nile virus (WNV). The death occurred in San Luis Obispo County.
“West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so I urge Californians to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Public Health Officer.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. As of July 9, WNV has been detected in 45 dead birds from 6 counties and 177 mosquito samples from 13 counties. Hot temperatures this month are contributing to increasing numbers of mosquitoes and the increased risk of virus transmission to humans. So far this season, activity is within expected levels. The risk of disease due to WNV usually increases at this time of year and is highest throughout the summer and early fall.
West Nile virus is influenced by many factors, including climate, the number and types of birds and mosquitoes in an area, and the level of WNV immunity in birds. The risk of serious illness to most people is low. However, some individuals – less than one percent – can develop serious neurologic illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis.
People 50 years of age and older, and individuals with diabetes or hypertension, have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop complications from WNV infection.
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