Mountain View Voice

News - August 9, 2013

Santa Clara County woman tests positive for West Nile

by Gennady Sheyner

A Santa Clara County woman has recently tested positive for West Nile virus, the county's first such case this year, health officials said.

According to the county's Health & Hospital System (HHS), the woman became ill in mid-July and was briefly hospitalized. She is now recovering at home.

While there have been 14 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in humans this year in California, there haven't been any in the county this year or in 2012. The last human case of the virus in the county was in 2011 and it proved fatal. The county had also experienced one case in 2008, four in 2007 and five in 2006, according to the county.

Of the 14 statewide cases this year, two were fatal. The county noted in its announcement that the risk of becoming seriously ill from West Nile is low for most people. Less than 1 percent of people can develop serious neurological illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis, according to HHS.

Infections are most common between June and September, when the weather is warm and mosquitoes are most active.

County officials said residents can lower their risk of getting infected by West Nile Virus by using insect repellent when outdoors; wearing long sleeves and pants when going outside between dusk and dawn; installing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out; and emptying standing water in flowerpots, gutters, pet-water dishes and other containers.

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