News Details

Health Officials Announce First Human Case of West Nile Virus in Solano County for 2013

August 1, 2013

Public health officials confirmed today the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in Solano County for 2013.

“The Fairfield man is in his 60s and is now home after a short hospitalization,” said Bela T. Matyas, MD, MPH, Solano County Health Officer and Health and Social Services Deputy Director.

As of July 29, 2013, the California Department of Public Health reports that, in addition to the Solano County case, there have been four human cases of WNV from three counties across the state.  There has been one WNV-related death reported in California in 2013. 

At this time in 2012, there were seven human cases reported in California.  There were two human cases of West Nile infection in Solano County during the 2012 season.

WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes are WNV carriers that become infected when they feed on infected birds.  The mosquito is the essential link for the infection to pass from birds to humans.

West Nile virus activity in California, as well as Solano County, is highest in the summer months, with the peak activity occurring in August through mid-September. 

“This is a good time to remind our residents of some simple precautions they can take to reduce their risk of infection,” said Michael Stacey, MD, MPH, Solano County Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Health Officer.

To avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, county officials recommend the following:

·         Dawn and dusk: Mosquitoes are most active in the early morning and evening.  Residents should avoid being outside at these times.  If you are outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirt and long pants and use insect repellent.

·         Drain: Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water.  Residents should eliminate all sources of standing water on their property and drain empty flower pots, buckets, barrels, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.  If you have an ornamental pond, contact the Solano County Mosquito Abatement District (707-437-1116) for a free mosquito fish.

·         DEET: Insect repellents keep mosquitoes from biting.  Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

·         Doors and windows: Residents should ensure that their doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out.  Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.

Symptoms of West Nile fever include headache, fatigue, fever, skin rash on the trunk of the body, swollen lymph glands and eye pain.  The most severe forms of WNV infection affect the central nervous system causing meningitis and encephalitis. 

“It’s important to remember that 80 percent of people (or four out of five) who are infected with WNV will have no symptoms.  The others (nearly one out of five) will usually develop West Nile fever and notice mild, flu-like symptoms.  Less than one percent of those infected will develop severe neurological disease,” explained Dr. Stacey.

Anyone can be infected with WNV, but people 50 years of age and older have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop complications.  There are also recent data that show that people with diabetes and/or hypertension have a higher risk of developing severe illness.

To date this season, there have been six confirmed WNV positive birds in Solano County; one in Suisun City, one in Vacaville and four in Fairfield.  The Solano County Mosquito Abatement District (SCMAD) also confirmed that mosquito samples collected in the Cordelia area were the first to test positive for WNV in the county this year.

SCMAD regularly monitors mosquito and virus activity in the county through trapping and testing. 

“All of the tools available at our disposal are being employed to control mosquito populations throughout the county; however, I would like to emphasize the availability of effective mosquito repellents and encourage our residents to use them regularly,” said Jon Blegen, Solano County Mosquito Abatement District Manager.

Residents are encouraged to report all dead birds and dead tree squirrels online at www.westnile.ca.gov or by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473).  Additional information about WNV can be found on the internet at www.westnile.ca.gov or www.cdc.gov.