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General Health : Infectious Disease Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Update: 342 Americans found with West Nile virus so far this year
By Sue Mueller
Aug 28, 2008 - 6:40:47 PM

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THURSDAY August 28, 2008 ( -- A Garden Grove, California man died this month from West Nile infection, the second fatality in Orange County so far this year, the Health Care Agency announced today.

The man, 64, who was not identified, tested positive for West Nile virus, spokeswoman Deanne Thompson said. It is unknown when, where and how he contracted the virus although most cases are caused by a bite of an infected mosquito.

So far this year, Orange County has recorded a total of 36 human cases of West Nile virus including two deaths. The first person who died from the disease was a 72-year-old woman in Buena Park.

County heath officials warned that the risk of human infection in Southern California is the particularly high.

Nationwide, as of August 26 this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received reports of 342 cases of West Nile virus including two deaths from the infection, one in Arizona, one in California and the third in Mississippi. The real number can be much higher because the state and local governments need some time to file reports to the agency.

"Of the 342 cases, 146 (43%) were reported as West Nile meningitis or encephalitis (neuroinvasive disease), 184 (54%) were reported as West Nile fever (milder disease), and 12 (4%) were clinically unspecified at this time. Please refer to state health department web sites for further details regarding state case totals. " the CDC states.

The West Nile cases were reported Alabama (3), Arizona (8), Arkansas (5), California (97), Colorado (32), Connecticut (1), Idaho (8), Illinois (4), Indiana (1), Iowa (4), Kansas (7), Louisiana (6), Maryland (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (13), Mississippi (53), Missouri (4), Montana (1), Nebraska (2), Nevada (7), New Mexico (1), New York (2), North Dakota (18), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (6), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (22), Tennessee (8), Texas (16), Utah (2), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (1) and Wyoming (2).

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.

Most people with the virus show no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after getting infected after a bite of an infected mosquito. An estimated 20 percent of infected people experience any illness.

Symptoms of West Nile virus are usually mild including fever, headache and body aches. In serious cases, the illness can lead to encephalitis and meningitis or death.

Orange county gives the following advice on how to prevent West Nile virus.

* Avoid Mosquito Bites

1. Apply insect repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-metatoluamide), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 (3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester) to exposed skin whenever you go outdoors. Be sure to follow the product directions for use.

2. Wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors, whenever possible. Spray thin clothes with repellant to provide extra protection but do not spray repellants containing permethrin directly on the skin and do not spray DEET under the clothing.

3. Avoid outdoor activities from dusk to dawn, which are peak mosquito biting times. If you must go outdoors in the evening and early morning, be sure to use repellant and protective clothing as described above.

* Mosquito-Proof Your Home

1. Drain standing water (which serve as mosquito breeding sites) around your home. This includes empty containers, flowerpots, bird baths, and pet dishes.

2. Install or repair tight fitting screens on your windows and doors to keep the mosquitoes out.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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