As the weather heats up, it’s time to fend off mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus

From the Sacramento Bee
April 21, 2019

Significant rainfall last winter ended drought conditions in all of California for the first time since 2011, but mosquito experts fear those same downpours have left a breeding ground for the blood-sucking flies that spread West Nile virus.

Public health officials in California reported 11 deaths from the disease and 243 infections in 2018. Yolo County had the third-highest rate of infection last year at 4.97 cases per 100,000 residents, coming in behind Glenn County at 6.95 per 100,000 and Butte County at 5.27 per 100,000.

The West Nile virus causes brain inflammation, said Dr. Stu Cohen, chief of infectious diseases at Sacramento’s UC Davis Medical Center, and that inflammation damages the brain and central nervous system. Despite a number of attempts to find a cure, he said, none has been found.

Some people may be infected with West Nile and never show symptoms, said Dr. Arthur Jey, an emergency medicine doctor at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, but for those who do, medical providers focus on helping people survive them. Those most vulnerable to the virus tend to be the very old or the very young, he said.

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