The Health Department announces the first confirmed human West Nile Virus (WNV) infection in Butte County. The virus was detected during a routine blood donation. To prevent transfusion related WNV infection, all blood donations are routinely screened for WNV and any infected blood is discarded

As of August 11, 2017, WNV has been detected in 31 of California’s 58 counties, with 22 human cases statewide. In Butte County, one human, two dead birds and two sentinel chickens have tested positive for WNV. The Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District reports that 15 mosquito pools have tested positive for WNV in Butte County so far this summer.

People infected with WNV generally fall into three categories: no symptoms (8 out of 10 people) a fever illness with fatigue and body aches (1 in 5 people), or severe illness with nerve related symptoms such as encephalitis or meningitis (less than 1 in 150 people). For those who develop a severe WNV illness, symptoms may last several weeks and some symptoms may be permanent. People 50 years of age and older, and individuals with diabetes or hypertension, have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop complications

“Mosquitoes capable of transmitting West Nile Virus are here. I urge you to protect yourself and your family by wearing appropriate clothing, using effective repellents and avoiding exposure at dusk and dawn,” explained Dr.Miller, Butte County Health Officer.

WNV is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Residents can reduce the risk of infection by practicing the “Three Ds”:

1.DEET – Use a proven insect repellent like DEET. Other recommended repellents include: picaradin, lemon eucalyptus oil, para-menthane-diol, or IR3535. Always use according to label instructions. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.

2.DAWN AND DUSK – Mosquitoes that transmit WNV bite in the early morning and evening. Wear proper clothing and repellent if outside during these times. Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.

3.DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate or drain all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. For standing water that cannot be drained such as fountains, ponds, etc., consider adding “Mosquito Dunks” or mosquito fish, which feed on mosquito larvae. Report unmaintained swimming pools to the local Mosquito and Vector Control District at (530) 342-7350 or (530) 533-6038.

For more information about WNV, visit Butte County’s West Nile Virus website.