A decision to donate blood may have saved a Bakersfield man's life.
Shortly after he gave blood, Mario Ojeda learned he is the latest person in Kern County diagnosed with West Nile Virus.
Mosquitoes are nothing new and always annoying. Most people bitten by them only deal with an itchy bump.
But, in certain people, a mosquito bite can kill. Earlier this year, an 88-year-old Kern County woman died from West Nile.
In this latest case, Kern County's sixth, Mario Ojeda is thankful his blood was screened when he went to donate.
"I went to donate blood and everything went okay. And, whenever you do that they check your blood to make sure they can distribute your blood. Apparently my blood tested positive for the virus," said Ojeda.
Some people don't even know they have West N because the symptoms can easily be confused with the flu.
But, health officials say West Nile should always be a concern when you're outdoors.
"Kern County is endemic for West Nile Virus. They need to be thinking that it could be part of the infection. They may have symptoms similar to flu, so could be headache, fever, muscle ache, body ache, body just not feeling very well," said Dr. Claudia Jonah, Kern County Public Health Department.
Mario Ojeda is lucky. But, "what ifs" still cross his mind.
"It's scary because, I guess I could say myself I'm a healthy person. But, what if I wasn't? What if I didn't have insurance and couldn't go see a doctor? What if I got worse?", he wondered.
Kern County Mosquito and Vector Control takes steps to limit mosquitoes, like spraying breeding grounds.
But, our mild winter caused an explosion of mosquitoes earlier than normal.
The best way to protect yourself... is to use bug repellent that contains deet, drain unused pools or bodies of water, and stay inside during dusk and dawn when more mosquitoes are out.