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West Nile Virus

Several cases of West Nile Virus - a mosquito-borne disease, have been reported in San Diego County, including the City of Carlsbad. While the city and County regularly practice mosquito control, it is important that residents also practice West Nile Virus prevention and protection techniques.

 

West Nile Virus has been commonly reported to cause infection and fevers in humans in Africa, West Asia and the Middle East since the 1930s. The first domestically acquired human case of the virus was documented in 1999 in the New York City area. Until then, human and animal infections had never been documented in the Western Hemisphere. It is not known exactly when or how it was introduced to North America. International travel of infected persons to New York, importation of infected birds, or migrations of infected birds are all possibilities.

Since that time, the virus has spread westward across the United States. The virus can infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and some other mammals.

Most commonly, the virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes are the vector or carrier of the virus. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans through mosquito bites. The virus is not spread by casual contact with an affected individual such as touching, kissing or breathing in the virus.

Most people (around 80 percent) who are infected with West Nile Virus will not show any symptoms. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected with West Nile Virus will develop symptoms that include: fever, headache, body aches, nausea and vomiting. Some may develop swollen lymph glands or a rash on the chest, abdomen or back. About one in 150 people infected with West Nile Virus will develop severe illness. These symptoms may include: high fever, headache, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors or convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness or paralysis.

Individuals 50 years of age and older have a higher chance of getting sick and subsequently developing severe illness. Being outside especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active increases the chances of being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Avoid getting mosquito bites. Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) to exposed skin when outdoors. When possible, wear long-sleeves, long-pants, and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes can bite through clothing so spraying clothes with a repellent containing permethrin will provide extra protection. Do not spray repellents containing permethrin directly on to the skin (use DEET).

Be aware that mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn.

Mosquito-proof the indoors by making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace any screens with tears or holes.

Contact Information

Emergencies dial 9-1-1

Fire Department
Operations
firemail@carlsbadca.gov
760-931-2141
760-929-0256 f

2560 Orion Way
Carlsbad, CA 92010

EMS Manager
Linda Allington RN, MPH
760-931-2175