Ventura County is confirming its first human case of West Nile virus. Ventura County public health says it is also working with the California Department of Public Health on two other potential cases.
West Nile virus is transmitted by an infected mosquito to humans and animals. Ventura County Environmental Health has already reported several birds and a horse that have died after becoming infected with the virus. While the virus can be deadly most people who get it don’t even know they have it.
“Getting West Nile virus is definitely not an automatic death sentence. 80 percent of people who get it get it without getting any symptoms whatsoever. Another 20 percent might have flu-like symptoms or even mild flu like symptoms and it is only like 1 in 162 people that get it that become ill enough to come to the attention of a doctor which would require hospitalization,” said Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin.
West Nile vaccines are not available for humans but they are available for horses.
People can protect against mosquito bites and West Nile virus by practicing the "three D’s"- DEET, Dusk/Dawn and Drain. Ventura County Public Health gave the following tips:
1. DEET –Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. Insect repellents should not be used on children under two months of age.
2. DAWN AND DUSK –Mosquitoes usually bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
3. DRAIN –Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property by emptying flower pots, old car tires, buckets, and other containers. If you know of a swimming pool that is not being properly maintained, please contact the County mosquito and vector control agency at (805)658-4310.
To request free mosquito fish to control mosquito breeding in ponds, fountains, and water gardens call (805)662-6582.