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Published On: Sun, Jun 22nd, 2014

California reports two human West Nile virus infections, first cases of 2014

The first two human infections with West Nile virus (WNV) this season have been reported by Contra Costa and San Joaquin Counties, announced Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and state health officer. The patient from Contra Costa County has since recovered and been released from the hospital, and the patient from San Joaquin County has tested positive for the virus but is not showing symptoms at this time.

West Nile virus life cycle Image/CDC

West Nile virus life cycle
Image/CDC

“These reported West Nile virus cases remind us that taking a few minutes to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites can make a big difference,” said Chapman. “West Nile virus activity is greatest during the summer.”

WNV is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes are WNV carriers that become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite. Rarely, WNV also has spread through transfusions, transplants, and mother-to-child.

Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected will display mild symptoms, which appear 3-14 days after getting infected, and include fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms typically last a few days.

About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent. There is no specific treatment for WNV infection. Prevention is by avoiding mosquito bites and eliminating mosquito breeding sites. For more infectious diseasenews and informationvisit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

To date in 2014, West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes and birds in 21 California counties. These include Contra Costa, Fresno, Kern, Lake, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Orange, Placer, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, Yolo, and Yuba.

In the United States to date, human WNV have been officially reported in Mississippi and California, two cases each and Arizona.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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