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County Report First Human Case Of West Nile
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While Escalon has seen positive tests for West Nile Virus in one bird and a mosquito sample from the local area, San Joaquin County officials announced on Monday that the first human West Nile Virus case of 2010 has been reported.

"A 50-year-old woman living in the central area of San Joaquin County has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV)," indicated a press release from the county's Public Health Services office, issued Aug. 2. "She was identified when donating blood and reports no symptoms of WNV infection."

This was the first human case reported so far this WNV season, said Dr. Karen Furst, the county's health officer.

"We are spraying all areas of the county," added San Joaquin Mosquito Vector Control District Public Information Officer Aaron Devencenzi.

Specific 'sprays' are planned when an area meets certain criteria, such as having high populations of mosquitoes, or having multiple reports of people being bitten in residential areas.

In Escalon, he said, problems were found but were not within the city limits.

"The bird was in a rural area just outside of town," he said. "The mosquitoes were south, in a rural area."

The District releases information if there will be aerial or ground spraying in specific targeted areas. Devencenzi said they are also routinely spraying in locations such as the rice fields and putting mosquitofish in other areas to combat the rise in the mosquito population.

"West Nile Virus is not limited to a certain zip code," he said. "The risk is out there."

The bird that tested positive for West Nile was a European starling, found in the Escalon area on July 15. The mosquito sample that tested positive was located on July 14.

"Every area of the county is being watched," Devencenzi added. "People also need to be vigilant in using things that will keep them protected."

That includes using an insect repellent with DEET, and officials said products with a higher concentration, some 20 to 30 percent, will offer a steady level of protection for a longer period of time than products with a lower concentration.

District officials are also routinely trapping, at least twice a week, throughout the county and then testing those trapped mosquito samples to keep tabs on the virus.

"It is very much on a daily basis," Devencenzi added of monitoring problem areas in the county.

The woman confirmed with the virus has no symptoms and Furst said most people infected with West Nile will not get ill.

"The risk of serious illness to most people is low," indicated Furst in the press release. "About one in five people infected with WNV will develop West Nile Fever with symptoms of headache, fever and fatigue."

Less than one percent, however, will develop serious neurological illness.

Those age 50 and over have a higher chance of getting sick and are more susceptible to the serious symptoms. Other risk factors include those with diabetes or high blood pressure.

Residents are reminded to use the mosquito repellent, be aware that dusk and dawn are when mosquitoes are most active, wear long pants and long sleeves to lessen your exposure during those times and drain any potential mosquito breeding sites around your home. They seek out standing water, so drain flower pots, old car and truck tires, rain gutters and pet feeding bowls.