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West Nile Virus spreading; causes California death

The Union Staff and the Associated Press

The Associated Press today reported the first human death in California this year due to West Nile Virus.

Also reported were birds found with the mosquito-borne virus in Sacramento and Butte Counties and a human case in Reno. The Reno case was a person under 50 who is believed to have contracted the disease while traveling in Louisiana, California, or other western states.

“We were hoping for another year before it got here, but it’s here,” said Hank Foley, Nevada County’s director of community health.



Foley encouraged residents to not have standing water on their property that can help breed mosquitoes and urged people to wear long sleeves and pants in the evenings. Health officials say humans should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites by using bug repellent and making sure screens do not have holes in them.

Anyone with West Nile Virus symptoms should contact their doctor, Foley said. The California Department of Health’s Web site said those symptoms are flu-like and include nausea, aches and fever.




The department said a test Wednesday confirmed an Orange County man died from the disease in June and it is spreading up the state from its original outbreak in Southern California earlier this year. Other counties where the virus has been found in birds include Tehama, Mendocino, Kings, San Diego, San Joaquin, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino Ventura, and Tulare.

Eighty percent of humans who get West Nile Virus do not notice it, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those who do notice develop the mild, flu-like symptoms and less than one percent die.


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