The first two cases of West Nile Virus for 2018 have been reported in Riverside County, according to Dr. Cameron Kaiser, county public health officer.
A 74-year-old Riverside woman and 50-year-old Eastvale man are the first confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus in Riverside County this year, according to Kaiser. They are also one of the first confirmed human cases in California this year.
The illness was confirmed this week based on test results and other clinical information. Both patients required hospitalization, but are expected to recover. There are no indications the two cases are related.
The virus is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Health officials emphasized that the risk of serious illness to humans is low. Most individuals who are infected with the virus will not experience any illness. Elderly individuals and those with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk for serious illness.
“While West Nile is rarely life-threatening, it can be occasionally serious,” Kaiser said in a prepared statement. “Unlike the common cold which is easily transmitted, the West Nile virus can only be spread by mosquito bites, and there are easy steps to take to reduce your risk of getting bitten.”
Here are some ways to protect yourself:
- Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and dusk, and wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and other protective clothing outside.
- Apply EPA-registered insect repellent that contains DEET.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, such as old tires, buckets, flowerpots and toys that can support mosquito breeding. Empty and scrub the water sources. Some mosquitoes can even breed in the amount of water that fits in a bottle cap.
There were 33 human cases reported during 2017 in Riverside County. In 2016, there were 10 confirmed human West Nile Virus cases in the county and there has not been a death from the illness since 2015.
Anyone who becomes ill after exposure to mosquitoes should contact their health care provider. The Disease Control office can be reached at 951.358.5107 for more information on West Nile Virus.
For more about mosquito abatement, click here.