First human West Nile virus case reported in Placer Co.

Margaret Moran
The disease is typically spread when an infected mosquito bites a person.
File photo

PLACER COUNTY, Calif. — A health official on Tuesday reported the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Placer County this year.

The individual didn’t suffer severe symptoms, said Wesley Nicks, director of the Placer County Public Health Division, in a Tuesday afternoon phone interview.

Details such as the individual’s age and residence were unknown as of press time Tuesday.

According to Placer County, most human cases in the county in recent years have occurred between mid-July and the end of August.

As of Tuesday, 38 human cases have been reported this year in California, with regional officials reminding the public to take precautions against the illness.

“With high temperatures enough for mosquitoes to thrive, but not high enough to keep people indoors, we must remind folks that West Nile virus is still a threat and that precautions need to be taken to reduce risk for exposure,” said Joel Buettner, general manager of the Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District.

The disease is typically spread when a mosquito bites an infected bird and then bites a person, according to Placer County. While most people infected with the virus will not become ill, in certain populations the disease can cause serious illness and even death.

People 50 years or older and those with suppressed or compromised immune systems are more prone to becoming seriously ill. About one in 150 people will become very ill, while about 20 percent of those infected may experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms.

“People should be aware, but not alarmed by (it),” said Ken Cutler, public health officer for Nevada County.

Cutler said there have been no human West Nile cases in Nevada County in more than five years.

Nearby in Nevada’s Douglas County, officials last week confirmed that a 50-year-old man was infected with a less-serious form of the illness.

Officials advise the public to implement the following protection measures:

Drain any standing water that may produce mosquitoes.

Defend yourself by using an effective insect repellent and dressing protectively when outside.

Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, particularly at dusk and dawn. If it’s necessary to be outside then, wear long sleeves and pants.

Defend your home by making sure screens on doors and windows are in good condition.

More information about West Nile is available at Questions can be directed to Placer County Public Health at 530-889-7141 or Nevada County Public Health at 530-265-1450.

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