First human case of West Nile in county reported

Central Contra Costa woman treated for virus

Health officials in Contra Costa County have reported the first case of a human infected with the West Nile Virus. Susan Farley, a public health nurse in the county's communicable disease program, said the case was first reported in late July.

The victim, listed as being from central Contra Costa County, first became ill in Mid-July but was not diagnosed until two weeks later. Farley said the woman is recovering from the potentially fatal virus.

West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Farley said that 80 percent of the time the person bitten suffers no ill effects. The other 20 percent suffer "West Nile Fever," which can include high fever, chills, headache, fatigue and vomiting.

"Some will show a rash," Farley said. "Usually people recover from that within a week or two. The fatigue can go on for several months."

In very rare cases, fewer than 1 percent of those who develop West Nile Fever will have a much more severe reaction.

"It develops into a central nervous system disease, like meningitis or encephalitis," Farley stated.

Those affected will experience confusion, dizziness, loss of motor control and other neurological effects. Those most at risk of developing the more serious version of West Nile tend to be older or have a pre-existing condition of hypertension.

There is no vaccine or medicine for West Nile. Farley said the main treatment is "supportive care," taking medication to keep fevers down, staying hydrated and similar courses of action. In the extreme cases, hospitalization is required.

The number of cases of West Nile are down so far this season. The California West Nile Virus Web site said so far this year there are only five human cases of the virus in California, whereas last year at this time there were 28 in the state.

Officials with the health department as well as the County Mosquito and Vector Control District are continuing to monitor the situation and request that owners of unused pools and spas drain them in order to deprive the mosquitoes of a breeding ground. Report any dead birds to a special hotline at (877) 968-2473.


Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Danville
on Aug 6, 2009 at 10:06 am

Don't get distracted folks. West Nile's been around this area for a while and it's NOTHING COMPARED TO THE SWINE FLU. There's not much we can do to prevent West Nile, besides not allowing mosquitoes to breed in stagnant water on your property. On the other, there's a lot we could have done to stop Swine Flu. We could've shut down the border for one. This is the one true mistake I believe Obama has made. He compared shutting down the border to closing the gate when the horses already escaped. Not true. We have brought in around a hundred thousand illegals immigrants since the outbreak of the flu. Many of those came from regions heavily contaminated with the disease. Illegals don't have to go through any medical diagnostics like good, normal immigrants. To ensure such third world dieases don't contaminate our society and threaten our children again, we must shut down the border and start deporting illegals from our country. Those who are for some reason allowed to stay must be checked for diseases and quarantined if necessary. Already in just three months more than 350 people have died in this country, five in this area, most of them not being fragile elders and/or children. This flu kills healthy adults and it's not even the flu season. Normal flu does not kill anyone after flu season. This swine flu is f***ing strong! We are in trouble. You're children are going back to school where there's a timebomb waiting. When are people gonna wake up and stop just allowing bad elements into our country, state and town?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

The valley needs strong leadership on BART board
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 7,025 views

3 Great Ways to Showcase Your Strengths on College Applications!
By Elizabeth LaScala | 0 comments | 530 views