MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Madera County reported its first case of human West Nile Virus for 2022.

The Madera County Department of Public Health says they were notified of the infected individual sometime in August.

Health experts say oftentimes people infected with WNV have no symptoms at all. In about 20% of cases, people may experience fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.  In extremely rare cases, as in less than 1% of infections, patients can develop severe disease and die. 

They also caution that people over 50 years of age or those who are immunocompromised are at greater risk of experiencing severe symptoms.

To protect against mosquito bites and West Nile Virus, the Department of Health suggests practicing the “Three Ds”:

1. DETER – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus or IR353 oil, according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you.

Insect repellents should not be used on children under two months of age.

2. 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 mosquitoes out. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

3. DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, by emptying flowerpots, buckets, and other water-holding containers. If you know of a swimming pool that is not being properly maintained, please contact your local mosquito control district.

The Madera County Mosquito & Vector Control District says residents should also check around their yards and apartment complexes for stagnant water in lawn drains, street gutters, near leaky sprinklers, fountains, around poorly draining soil, in the wells of discarded tires, and lawn equipment such as wheelbarrows.

District officials say that especially in hotter temperatures, as we are currently experiencing, mosquito larvae go through their life cycle stages quicker so focusing on source reduction is paramount in fighting the spread of West Nile Virus.

Madera County residents may request a free home inspection by calling them at 559-662-8880.

They also urge residents to report dead birds to The West Nile Virus and Dead Bird Hotline (877) 986-BIRD (2473).  They say dead birds can be the first indicators of the presence of West Nile Virus in the area.