West Nile Virus Cases Found in California

West Nile Virus

A patient diagnosed with West Nile Virus was brought to the attention of medical officials in Contra Costa County in California. The patient has been released from the hospital and is recovering. The West Nile Virus case that was found in California this past week is this year’s first case.

A man in his 60s was diagnosed with West Nile Virus in California. The man was hospitalized and treated, and has already been released to recover at home. It is reported that various birds in Contra Costa County have been identified to be carrying the virus, and residents in the area are encouraged to stay cautious. Another person carried the virus from nearby San Joaquin county.

California is among the top states in the country to record mosquitoes with West Nile Virus. So far, the virus has been tracked in mosquitoes in about 19 counties. The state is also the first state to have had recorded instances of the virus infecting a human. Contra Costa County has not had any fatal cases since 2006. Last year, only five individuals were diagnosed with West Nile Virus, and all five had fast and easy recoveries.

West Nile Virus is a disease that causes inflammation of the brain. It is a bacterial infection transmitted by mosquitos. The virus was first detected in Uganda in 1937.

People over the age of 50 are the most susceptible to the virus. Usually, people with hypertension and diabetes are more at risk as well. It is still encouraged that families take action to prevent getting mosquito bites this summer. Although insect and mosquito repellents do not fully prevent someone from contracting the disease, it does reduce the overall risk. Most people who receive the virus from a mosquito do not even realize that they have the virus. Some symptoms will not appear in a person.

Though the West Nile Virus can be fatal, it is not common. Some symptoms include fever, body aches, headaches, swollen lymph glands and skin rashes. Though the symptoms are overall basic indications, one should still seek medical attention if they have been recently bitten by a mosquito. Severe symptoms include tremors, paralysis, stiff neck and disorientation.

The virus cannot be transmitted from person-to-person through direct contact, though transmission is still possible in a few instances. It can be transmitted through organ and blood donation, and pregnant mothers who are diagnosed with the disease can transmit it to the fetus. Today, there have been no official records of the disease being transmitted from one person to another.

In 1999, the United States had its first outbreak of West Nile. It occurred in New York, and since then, cases have been reported in 47 states. Since 1999, there have been approximately 30,000 reported cases and 1,200 deaths throughout the country.

Contra Costa County in California found two reported cases of West Nile Virus this past week. Contra Costa is among the 19 counties in California to have reportedly found cases of West Nile Virus in birds and mosquitoes this year. It is encouraged that people in all states remain cautious to the disease and take all the right precautions to prevent the virus from affecting their families.

By Tricia Manalansan

San Jose Mercury News
Merced Sun-Star
The Sacramento Bee
Medicine Net

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