Kern County officials announce 1st West Nile virus-related death of the year

Credit: MGN/CDC, 2012 file photo

Kern County Public Health Services has confirmed the first local West Nile virus-related death of the year.

West Nile virus is spread via infected mosquitoes. Most people, 80 percent, won't notice any symptoms if exposed to the virus.

Public Health didn't say whether the person had a medical condition that made them more susceptible to ill effects from West Nile virus.

“This serves as a reminder that the threat of West Nile virus should be taken seriously,” Public Health Director Matt Constantine said in a news release. “We strongly encourage residents to protect themselves and family members from mosquitoes.”

Public Health offered these tips to reduce exposure to infected mosquitoes:

  • Do not allow water to collect and stagnate in old tires, flowerpots, swimming pools, birdbaths, pet bowls, or other containers. These are prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
  • Keep swimming pools operating properly; drain water from pool covers.
  • Stock garden ponds with fish that eat mosquito larvae such as gambusia, goldfish or others.
  • Empty and scrub the walls to remove any attached eggs in birdbaths and wading pools weekly.
  • Avoid mosquito-infested areas and use mosquito repellant on exposed skin.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors, especially if you are older or have a weakened immune system.
  • Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens in good repair to keep out mosquitoes.
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