State health officials confirm 1st human death from West Nile virus in San Luis Obispo County

State News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) — State health officials confirmed Friday the first human death related to the West Nile virus in 2021 happened in San Luis Obispo County.

Officials confirmed the death in a news release, but did not release details of the person or their death.

The West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals by a bite from an infected mosquito. Officials say the risk of developing serious illness or death is low. Some symptoms include headache, fever, rash, muscle weakness, nausea, and vomiting. In rare cases — about 1% officials say — people infected can develop more serious illness like paralysis, tremors or other neurological illness.

“West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so I urge Californians to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites,” Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Public Health Officer, said in a statement.

Kern officials urge residents to take precautions to protect against mosquito bites by wearing insect repellant and wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors, and to remove standing water where mosquitos can breed. Residents are also asked to make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens or make repairs to them when needed.

The first human case of West Nile virus in Kern County was reported by health officials on Friday.

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