West Nile Cases Reported in Tulare County. Encephalitis Virus May Also Be Present.
The Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency reports two people have confirmed cases of West Nile Virus, and three cases are probable.
In addition, the agency said samples indicate that St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV) may also be present, posing a risk to the public.
Public health officials urge residents to take precautions against mosquito bites. Mosquito samples testing positive for West Nile Virus have been collected in multiple locations within the county, they said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes and there is no vaccine or medication to treat it. Most people infected with West Nile will have no symptoms; however, about 1 in 5 people will develop a fever with other symptoms from 2 to 14 days after being infected.
Severe cases of West Nile Virus can affect the central nervous system, resulting in meningitis and/or encephalitis, and can result long-term disability or death.
Tulare County officias are recommending that residents take precautions to avoid being bitten, including:
- Using EPA-registered insect repellent such as DEET and following label instructions carefully.
- Dressing in long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk periods or in areas where mosquitoes are active.
- Draining standing water that may harbor mosquitoes.
- Repairing or replacing door and window screens that have tears or holes.
St. Louis Encephalitis Virus
St. Louis Encephalitis Virus is in the same virus family as West Nile. Both viruses are transmitted to humans when bitten by an infected mosquito. Most people infected with SLEV will have few to no symptoms.
When present, the most common symptoms are similar to a mild flu, including fever and headache, from 5 to 15 days after being infected. Severe cases of SLEV can affect the central nervous system.
Contact Local Mosquito Abatement District
Residents are encouraged to contact the local mosquito abatement district if they observe areas of standing water that may be a breeding area for mosquitoes. Tulare County has three mosquito abatement districts providing abatement services to residents:
- Delta Vector Control (Mosquito Abatement District) – Covering the northern portion of Tulare County. Contact the Visalia Office at (559) 732-8606 or visit online at: http://www.deltavcd.com/.
- Tulare Mosquito Abatement District – Covering the western portion of Tulare County. Contact the Tulare Office at (559) 686-6628 or visit online at: https://www.tularemosquito.com/.
- Delano Mosquito Abatement District – Covering the southern portion of Tulare County. Contact the Delano Office at (661) 725-3114 or visit online at: https://delanomosquito.com/.
Horses are also susceptible to infection with West Nile Virus, but there is a vaccine for horses to prevent these diseases. Horse owners should have their horses vaccinated annually and keep vaccinations up to date, officials said. For more information, visit the California West Nile website at http://westnile.ca.gov/.