Kern County Public Health has confirmed another case of West Nile virus, bringing the county's total to 4.
According to the county's website, "West Nile virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness transmitted by mosquitoes to people. The virus survives in nature in birds and is passed when a mosquito feeds on an infected bird. The infected mosquito can then pass the virus when it bites humans and other mammals, such as horses."
Most people who become infected do not become ill. However, those that due suffer from fever, headache, rash, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting. In sever cases, victims can suffer limb paralysis, tremors, and an altered mental state. In rare cases, the virus can be fatal.
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.