The Kern County Public Health Services Department announced Friday afternoon that two confirmed cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Kern County residents.
The statewide total sits at five cases this year as of Friday, according to data from the California Department of Public Health, with one case each in Kings, Stanislaus and Yolo counties.
Kern County also identified one additional asymptomatic infection during the course of a blood donation; the press release explains that a confirmed case requires a positive laboratory result and symptomatic illness.
Mosquitoes spread the West Nile virus, which is particularly common in the summer and early fall. Symptoms are usually mild, but can also include fever, head and body aches, nausea, vomiting and a possible rash in 20 percent of people, with less than 1 percent experiencing severe illness in their nervous system, the health department said.
“Kern residents should continue to take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes,” says Brynn Carrigan, Kern County Public Health director, in the press release. “We all need to remove standing water around our property to help reduce opportunities for mosquitoes to flourish.”
Beyond limiting sources of standing water, residents can also use mosquito repellent, wear long sleeves and pants and maintain screen doors to help prevent mosquito bites.
The county is maintaining a website for West Nile virus information — https://kernpublichealth.com/west-nile-virus/ — and urges residents to report symptoms to health-care providers and report mosquito-infested areas to local agencies.