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Woman Tests Positive for West Nile Virus in Santa Clara County

Updated August 8, 2013


Woman Tests Positive for West Nile Virus: Santa Clara County's First Confirmed Human Case of 2013

Santa Clara County, CA. A Santa Clara County woman has tested positive for West Nile virus, in the first confirmed human case of the virus in the County this year. The woman became ill in mid-July, was hospitalized briefly, and is now recovering at home.

So far this year in California, there have been 14 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in humans. Two of those cases have been fatal. The last human case of West Nile Virus in Santa Clara County was in 2011, which was fatal. Prior to that, there was one case in 2008, four in 2007, and five in 2006.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. The risk of becoming seriously ill is low for most people. Less than 1% of people can develop serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. People over the age of 50 have a higher chance of becoming ill. In addition, people with diabetes or hypertension have a greater risk of complications and serious illness.

After someone is bitten, the incubation period is generally two to six days, but it can be as many as 14 days. Most people are infected between June and September, when it is warm outside and mosquitoes are most active.

People can take steps to protect themselves from contracting West Nile Virus, including:

  • Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon, eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection.
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants if you are outside from dusk through dawn when many mosquitoes are most active.
  • Be sure to install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. If you have air conditioning, use it.
  • Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths.

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