A resident of San Luis Obispo County has reportedly died of West Nile virus complications.
The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department says the person is believed to have entered the West Nile while visiting an area of the state outside the county.
“We express our sincere condolences to this patient’s family,” said County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein in a press release. “This loss is a tragic reminder that the West Nile Virus is here in California and can cause very serious illness. Be sure to protect yourself from mosquito bites and drain any sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed. ”
This is the first case and death of the virus in California this year.
Health officials say the West Nile is commonly transmitted by mosquitoes to both humans and animals and typically follows a seasonal pattern based on mosquito populations.
“While most people infected with the West Nile do not experience any symptoms, about one in five flu-like symptoms occur and a small number of people (less than one percent) develop severe neurological disease,”
Health officials offer the following preventative tips:
- Apply a repellent containing DEET, picaridine or lemon eucalyptus oil.
- Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
- Pay attention at dawn and dusk. Mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus usually bite early in the morning and evening.
- Check and repair all screens, including screen doors, to keep mosquitoes out.
To eliminate mosquito repellents around your home, people are encouraged to remove standing water from drains or containers, gutters and things like birdbaths, fountains and pet dishes.