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First human infection of West Nile Virus reported in Kern for 2021

Kern County Public Health Services Department

The Kern County Public Health Services Department has received confirmation of the first reported human infection of West Nile virus (WNV) in Kern County this year. West Nile virus is a disease spread by mosquitoes most often during the summer and early fall when WNV-carrying mosquitoes are most active.

While many mosquito-borne illnesses such as WNV cause only mild symptoms in most people, the infection can cause severe illness and even death in rare cases. Up to 20 percent of people who become infected with WNV will have symptoms that may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes a skin rash. Less than 1 percent will develop severe illness affecting the brain and/or nervous system, with symptoms that can include high fever, neck stiffness and confusion. We encourage concerned residents who are experiencing symptoms to contact their medical provider.

“West Nile virus is a seasonal threat to our community and we ask everyone to do their part and take action to minimize standing water sources,” said Brynn Carrigan, director of Kern County Public Health. “Working together, we can help reduce the impact of this disease.”

Reduce mosquito breeding sites:

• Remove standing or stagnate water from containers such flowerpots, fountains, birdbaths, pet bowls and wading pools. 

• Clean/scrub containers that collect water weekly to remove any remaining eggs.

• Maintain swimming pools in working condition.

• Stock garden ponds with fish that eat mosquito larvae. 

• Report areas of mosquito infestation to your local vector control district.

Decrease your risk of mosquito-transmitted infections:

• Avoid mosquitoes and mosquito-infested areas at all times of the day.

• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.

• Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin when outdoors.

• Ensure doors and windows have screens in good repair to keep mosquitoes out of your home.

Please visit our interactive WNV webpage www.kernpublichealth.com/west-nile-virus/ that is updated regularly. Contact your local mosquito and vector control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live, work or play.