First West Nile virus case of 2016 reported in Monterey County

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. - The first case of human West Nile virus this year has been reported in Monterey County, according to the health department.

Health officials said this is the first case in Monterey County since one in 2012.

The department said the person was hospitalized and treated for symptoms. They believe the person was exposed to West Nile in Monterey County or in the Central Valley area.

As of Sept. 16, the department said human, bird, and mosquito West Nile infections have been discovered in 36 California counties.

Monterey County Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno said there are important steps people can take to protect themselves from West Nile Virus.

“This West Nile virus infection in Monterey County reminds us that we must take precautions to protect ourselves and our families from all mosquito bites,” Moreno said.

DEET–Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, lemon eucalyptus oil, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.

DRESS–Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure, such as long sleeves and long pants.

DAWN AND DUSK–Mosquitoes that carry WNV bite in the early morning and evening, so it is important to wear repellent at this time. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.

DRAIN–Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, old car tires, rain gutters, and pet bowls. If you have a pond, use mosquito fish or commercially available products to eliminate mosquito larvae.

The department said most people who become infected don't show any symptoms, about 20 percent may experience fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Less than 1 percent will develop a serious illness like meningitis, health officials said.

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