A resident of San Bernardino County with underlying health problems who tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV) has become the county’s first WNV-associated death of 2023.
A total of seven WNV cases have been detected within the county this year, the county said in a news release on Aug. 23.
In 2022, San Bernardino County detected four WNV cases, including one death.
“Due to the increased rainfall this year, there has been a surge in mosquito activity this season. Furthermore, the rainfall from the recent tropical storm is likely to exacerbate WNV,” said San Bernardino County Health Officer Michael A. Sequeira, M.D. “We urge everyone to take proactive measures to eliminate potential breeding sites around their homes and to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”
WNV is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of WNV may include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting, and headache.
Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms. However, people 50 years of age and older and individuals with diabetes, hypertension, who are immunocompromised or have a recent history of chemotherapy have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop complications.
The most effective way to avoid WNV infection is to prevent mosquito bites.
Persons who experience a sudden high fever (above 102°F), severe headache, or a stiff neck should seek medical help right away.
The risk of infection due to WNV typically increases from summer through early fall. Residents are encouraged to protect themselves from mosquito bites during outdoor activities, especially at dawn and dusk.
For more information on West Nile virus, to report a standing water source, or to request a courtesy mosquito inspection, visit the San Bernardino County Mosquito and Vector Control Program at ehs.sbcounty.gov/programs/mosquito-and-vector-control or call (800) 442-2283.