BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Public Health Department reported four human cases of West Nile virus in Kern County as of Monday.

According to the department, 22 people reported having West Nile virus in 2022 and three people reported having the virus in 2021.

Health officials say the virus survives when a mosquito feeds on an infected bird and the virus can then pass on to mammals such as horses and humans.

The first human case of West Nile virus in Kern County was reported in 2004, according to health officials.

To decrease your risk of mosquito-transmitted infections, public health officials advise you to:

  • Avoid mosquitoes
  • Avoid mosquito-infested areas and use mosquito repellant
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants while outdoors
  • Do not allow stagnate water to collect
  • Keep swimming pools operating properly
  • Stock garden ponds with fish that eat mosquito larvae
  • Empty and scrub wading pools or bird baths weekly
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens

Officials say there is a vaccine against West Nile virus for horses but there is no vaccine available for people.