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West Nile Virus has already been detected in San Diego.  The West Nile Virus has probably been in the eastern United States since 1999. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. The virus is then spread by the bite of an infected mosquito to people, horses, birds and some other animals.

Most people who are infected with West Nile Virus will not have any type of illness. Adults over 50 are at a higher risk of serious illness from West Nile Virus. West Nile Virus symptoms include: fever, headache, body aches, skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands. At this time there is no specific treatment or vaccine for West Nile Virus.

It is estimated that 1 in 100 persons infected with West Nile Virus will develop a more severe form of the disease leading to encephalitis or meningitis. The symptoms of severe infection include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis.

• The incubation period in humans is about 5 to 15 days.
• West Nile virus is not transmitted from person-to-person.
• There is no vaccine against West Nile Virus.

The chance of getting ill from a mosquito bite is low. However, you can further reduce your chances of becoming ill by protecting yourself from mosquito bites.

• Consider staying indoors at peak mosquito biting times
   - dawn, dusk, and early evening.
• Eliminate standing water sources around your home.
• Wear long-sleeved clothes and long pants treated with
   mosquito repellents containing permethrin or DEET.
   If you spray your clothing, there is no need to spray
   repellent on the skin under your clothing.
• Apply insect repellent containing DEET when outdoors.
   Follow all precautions on container.
• Report dead birds to the health department (888-551-4636).

For more information, check the following web sites:

Center for Disease Control (CDC): West Nile Virus

West Nile Surveillance Maps

California Department of Health Services

County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health

Stop West Nile Virus - video from County of San Diego, Dept. of Environmental Health

Last updated 04/13/2010.

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