FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – West Nile Virus was found in a mosquito sample in Fresno County on Wednesday, but what should you do if an infected mosquito bites you and you get the virus?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone infected with West Nile will most likely have no symptoms, but one in five people who are infected develop a fever – alongside other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash,
Officials warn that fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
The CDC says in severe cases, which only affect about one in 150 people, will have more intense symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis.
Experts warn that severe illness can occur in people of any age, with those over 60 years of age being at greater risk. Some effects on the central nervous system might be permanent and about one out of ten people who develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system die.
The CDC says there is no vaccine or specific medicines available for West Nile virus infection and that antibiotics do not treat viruses. Experts recommend someone infected with the West Nile Virus needs to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and say taking over-the-counter pain medications may relieve some symptoms.
Fresno County health officials recommend that individuals contact their local mosquito control district regarding standing water or mosquito problems, as well as to report any neglected swimming pools adding that neglected pools are a major source of mosquito production within the city and rural areas.
“This confirmation is a strong reminder that everyone should take this disease seriously and should take every precaution to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites. The risk of disease due to West Nile Virus usually increases at this time of year and is highest throughout the summer and early fall,” says Dr. Rais Vohra, Fresno County Department of Public Health Interim Health Officer.
Officials say you can protect against mosquito bites and West Nile Virus by practicing the “Three Ds”:
- Deter – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 according to label instructions.
- Dawn and dusk – Mosquitoes usually bite in the early morning and evening, so it is important to wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
- Drain – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, by emptying flowerpots, old car tires, buckets, and other containers.
All residents are encouraged to report dead birds on the California West Nile website at www.westnile.ca.gov or by calling toll-free 1-877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473).
Fresno County residents can find their local mosquito district at www.fresnocountymosquito.org.