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West Nile found in state

The first human case of West Nile virus in the state this year caused the California Department of Health Services to issue a warning Thursday.

Nevada County has not reported any cases of the virus in birds, animals or humans yet this year, according to the state and county health departments, but it is expected later this summer.

“We usually get our cases in July and August, and I figure it will happen again this year,” said Peggy Zarriello, an environmental health specialist for the county. “Just this week, there’s been an increase in dead birds,” across California.



The first human state case was a 21-year-old Kern County woman who tested positive for the disease after having classic symptoms that included fever, headache and body ache. The woman was not hospitalized; most people who become sick with West Nile virus do not need hospital care.

About one in 150 people infected will get extremely ill with migraine-like headaches, nausea, disorientation, and sometimes coma and death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 20 percent get a harsh flu-like illness for several weeks, and most show no symptoms at all.




But the possibility of serious illness has the state asking residents to take caution by:

• Dumping out standing water on your property to prevent mosquito breeding.

• Using insect repellent with DEET in it, particularly at dawn and dusk.

• Making sure all your window and door screens are tight and repaired if holes exist.

So far this year, 60 cases have been reported in the state in 57 birds, two horses and the aforementioned human case, according to the state health department. Horses are particularly vulnerable to the disease but veterinarians have a vaccine for it.

If you find a dead bird or squirrel on your property, do not pick it up with your bare hands. Instead, call the Nevada County Community Health Services Department at 265-1450 for instructions.

The state also asks a call be made to its health department at (877) 968-2473. You can also visit the state’s West Nile virus Web site at http://www.west nile.ca.gov for more information.

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To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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