NewsCovering Kern County


Kern County Public Health reports 1st case of West Nile Virus for 2021

West Nile Virus Cases Over the Years
Posted at 2:04 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 19:11:16-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Public health gave an update on a virus of a different kind. The department says we've now seen our first case of West Nile Virus in Kern County.

So far this is the only case in a person and there have not been any cases of the West Nile Virus in animals so far this year.

Public health says now is the peak season for West Nile Virus and that most people are infected during the summer and fall.

Most people don't show symptoms but here's what you should look out for if you get bitten by a mosquito. Common symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes a skin rash.

Public health wants people to remember to wear bug spray, avoid stagnant water, and keep their windows closed.

To decrease the chance of exposure, Kern County Public Health recommends:

  • Avoid mosquitoes at all times of the day.
  • Avoid mosquito-infested areas and use mosquito repellent on exposed skin.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
  • Do not allow water to collect and stagnate in old tires, flowerpots, fountains, 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 eats mosquito larvae such as gambusia, goldfish, and others.
  • Empty and scrub the walls of birdbaths and wading pools weekly to remove any attached mosquito eggs.
  • Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of your home.

What are the infection rates over the years?

There's only been one case so far this year. Cases were also low last year with eight infections reported among people.

Last year, Michelle Corson from Public Health told 23ABC this was probably due to the fact that the prevalent type of mosquito seen last year couldn't carry the virus.

In 2019, the county saw 32 cases in people. West Nile Virus cases reached a high in 2007 with 140 among people.

Corson also said this was likely caused indirectly by the housing market crash when many homes foreclosed and swimming pools went uncared for months. That stagnant water allows mosquitos to breed and spread infection.