This summer has seen the fastest outbreak of West Nile virus since the mosquito-borne illness first appeared in the United States in 1999, officials from the Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday.
Locally, two people have tested positive for the virus in Sacramento County, and 367 mosquito samples have been found to be carrying West Nile. The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District has sprayed for mosquitoes in Elk Grove , and will spray Woodland this week.
Across the country, there have been 1,118 reported illnesses–the most ever reported by the third week of August. Half of the illnesses reported this year are in Texas.
West Nile virus symptoms may include headache, fever, body aches, vomiting, nausea, swollen lymph glands, and skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.
Approximately 80 percent of people who become infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms, although some 20 percent will develop West Nile fever.
Of those, less than 1 percent may develop a more severe form of illness with symptoms such as high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, paralysis and in extreme cases death. While there is no cure for West Nile virus, it is preventable.
Residents can help reduce the threat by eliminating unnecessary standing water in discarded tires, buckets, kiddie pools and stock backyard ponds or other permanent water features with mosquitofish. Residents are encouraged to report mosquito problems, neglected swimming pools or dead birds to the West Nile virus hotline at 1-877-968-2473 or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.