Health Care

LA County officials warn public about West Nile

"Detection in chickens means there is a risk of potential spread to humans via mosquitoes", Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Charity Dean said in a statement.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, headache and body aches.

West Nile virus has been detected in four chickens near Solvang, Santa Barbara County Public Health officials said Monday. During 2002, the state documented its first human infections and 52 cases were reported that year.

West Nile virus is passed primarily between birds by mosquito vectors. "The evenings are cooler and folks may want to sit outside, but it is very important that they take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites because the viral activity is continuing".

There have been 211 human cases of West Nile Virus in California so far this year and eight people have died.

Scott noted the virus is not transmitted person to person or directly between animals or between animals and humans. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat the virus, and about 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, interim health officer for Los Angeles County, noted several steps to decrease risk of mosquito-borne diseases, including using mosquito repellents that contain EPA-registered ingredients like DEET and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers while outdoors. When outdoors, wear long trousers and long sleeved shirts and use mosquito repellents.

Make sure window and door screens are in good fix to prevent mosquito entry. Consider the use of BTI briquettes (or mosquito dunks) in standing water that can not be eliminated. Vaccinations are available for horses from your veterinarian.



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