Kern County Public Health Services has received confirmation of the first Kern County West Nile virus associated death this year.
“This serves as a reminder that the threat of West Nile virus should be taken seriously” says Matt Constantine, Director of Kern County Public Health Services. “We strongly encourage residents to protect themselves and family members from mosquitoes.”
About 80% of those exposed to the illness show no symptoms or ill effects of the virus, which is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.
The risk of exposure is greatest in summer due to warmer weather and outdoor activities and diminishes in the fall as cold temperatures kill most mosquitoes or sends them into hibernation.
How to decrease the risk of infection:
* Do not allow water to collect and stagnate in old tires, flowerpots, swimming pools, birdbaths, pet bowls, or other containers. These are prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
* Keep swimming pools operating properly; drain water from pool covers.
* Stock garden ponds with fish that eat mosquito larvae such as gambusia, goldfish or others.
* Empty and scrub the walls to remove any attached eggs in birdbaths and wading pools weekly.
* Avoid mosquito-infested areas and use mosquito repellant on exposed skin.
* Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors, especially if you are older or have a weakened immune system.
* Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens in good repair to keep out mosquitoes.
Contact your local mosquito and vector control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work. For more information the public can call 661-321-3000 or visit our website at kernpublichealth.com.