The following is a news release from the Kern County Department of Public Health:
The Kern County Public Health Services Department sadly announces the death of a Kern County resident as the first reported fatality in the state due to West Nile Virus (WNV) infection. An 88 year-old female resident of Bakersfield was confirmed with West Nile Virus Disease.
“I am sad to report that we have lost a member of our community to West Nile Virus,” said Claudia Jonah, M.D., Health Officer. “It is necessary to remember that West Nile Virus can be deadly especially for the elderly and for persons with chronic diseases.” ”No one can predict if they will be one of the few to become severely ill from WNV. Kern County residents actively protect themselves when enjoying the outdoors away from home. However, it is imperative to protect ourselves, our children, and the elderly from exposure by preventing mosquito bites and by removing sources for mosquito breeding around our homes,” said Public Health Director Matt Constantine.
West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans, birds, and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. Dr. Jonah is urging everyone to use all available preventive measures to protect themselves against mosquitoes which carry West Nile Virus as well as other diseases. Kern County citizens can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by following the 3 Ds of West Nile Virus prevention:
DUSK/DAWN: Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and the first two hours after sunset. Also make sure that the screens on your doors/windows are properly placed and secure and use protective clothing if going outdoors.
DEET/DEFEND: Apply effective mosquito repellant containing one of the following: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 according to label instructions.
DRAIN: Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.
Contact your local mosquito and vector control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.
For more information about West Nile Virus and to report green pools in Kern County, call the Kern Public Health West Nile Virus hotline at 1-877-81-VIRUS (1-877-818-4787). To report dead birds or squirrels, call the California Department of Public Health West Nile Virus line at 1-877-WNV-BIRD; or online at http://westnile.ca.gov.