Health officials confirm first human West Nile Virus illnesses of 2018

Five Queens areas will be sprayed with larvicide next week as city launches 2018 mosquito-killing campaign

According to the California Department of Public Health, one other human case - in Kern County - has been reported so far this year, for a total of four statewide.

West Nile virus is transmitted through a bite from a Culex pipiens mosquito, commonly known as a horse mosquito, that has picked up the virus by feeding off of an infected bird. It can affect the nervous system and result in meningitis, encephalitis, paralysis and even death.

According to the county, an average of 221 annual cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in the Department of Public Health's coverage area over the past five years.

In a wider perspective, the Centers for Disease and Prevention had 2,002 cases of West Nile reported across 47 states as of January 9 and 121 reported deaths due to the virus.

In 2017, there were 553 reported WNV cases in California, including 44 deaths. If you think you have symptoms of the West Nile Virus, go see your doctor and get checked out. Mosquito fish are another option and available for free by contacting the Vector Control Program. Reported cases from mosquito and tick bites in IL have increased by more than half (58 percent) from 2005 to 2016. "Taking just a few minutes to remove any standing water from your yard, apply recommended mosquito repellents and ensure your window and door screens are free of holes can help protect you and your community from this unsafe disease".

The maps are available here: http://www.rivcoph.org/Home/WestNileMap.aspx.

A mosquito bite could lead to many different types of diseases, whether rare or common. One study showed that 12 months after infection, about half of those with this disease continued to have cognitive and physical impairment such as memory loss, difficulty walking and fatigue.

Avoid mosquito-infested areas at dawn and dusk.

When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions.

Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET. These are effective defenses against mosquitoes when used as labeled.

To minimize exposure to mosquitoes, eliminate standing water from property and make sure doors and windows have tightfitting screens without holes. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property by emptying flower pots, old vehicle tires, buckets, and other containers. "Anything that can hold water, can breed mosquitoes", he said. These eat mosquito eggs and larvae. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen.

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