San Bernardino County, CA – Two human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) have been confirmed in the County of San Bernardino–the first confirmed this year. At this time last year, the County had a total of three confirmed cases and one death due to the WNV. Historically, the California Department of Public Health has confirmed a total of 57 human cases and two deaths from infection.

Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms, but some people may develop a severe fever, head or body ache, rash or vomiting, which can lead to brain inflammation or paralysis.

West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, so the most effective way to avoid infection is to prevent mosquito bites the following precautions:

  • Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.
  • Remove or drain all standing water around your property where mosquitoes could lay eggs (bird baths, old tires, leaky hoses, etc).
  • Apply insect repellent containing a low concentration of DEET.   When using DEET, be sure to read and follow the label instructions.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting, hole-free screens.

County of San Bernardino Health Officer Maxwell Ohikhuare, M.D. says. “People over 50 years old should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract WNV.”

The public can participate in the WNV surveillance program by reporting dead birds to the state’s toll-free hotline at (877) WNV – BIRD (968-2473).