West Nile Virus warnings

Human West Nile Virus (WNV) has returned, the Kern County Department of Health announced this month.

“For years now, human WNV infections have been found in Kern County residents.” says Dr. Claudia Jonah, head of the health department. “These cases are a glaring example of the need for individuals to always keep in mind that they must ‘fight the mosquito bite’ in Kern County.”

WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.

Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. Those who do develop illness typically begin experiencing symptoms from 5 to 15 days after they are bitten by an infected mosquito.

“WNV can be deadly. Let’s cut off the chance of that happening by using your mosquito repellent starting right now,” urged Jonah in a press release.

County health department employees say the county has been working to suppress mosquito breeding in neglected water impoundments. “Kern County Engineering, Surveying and Permit Services is keeping sumps cleaned out,” they said. Residents are urged to “join the WNV Prevention Team” by using an effective mosquito repellent.

“It is imperative to protect ourselves, our children and the elderly from exposure by preventing mosquito bites and by removing sources for mosquito breeding around our homes,” Jonah said.

The 3 Ds of Prevention

Dusk-Dawn: Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and the first two hours after sunset. Also make sure that the screens on your doors/windows are properly placed and secure. Use protective clothing if going outdoors.

DEET: Apply insect repellant containing DEET according to label instructions and do not forget to reapply as recommended.

Drain: Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.

For more information the public can call Kern County Public Health at 661-321-3000 and visit the website at www.kernpublichealth.com.

This is part of the August 30, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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