First Human Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed in Butte County

Aug 6, 2013 1:58 PM

The County’s Department of Public Health has confirmed an elementary school aged child from North Chico tested positive for West Nile Virus.

"This first confirmed WNV case reminds us that we must take precautions to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Mark Lundberg, Butte County Health Officer. “We are definitely seeing WNV activity in Butte County. The public should take extra care to avoid mosquito bites. Prevention is the key to stopping the spread of the virus.”

Dr. Lundberg told Action News Now the child has recovered from being infected with the virus. Lundberg indicated the child contracted the virus sometime in early July and soon started having headaches along with severe fever, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Dr. Lundberg also stated the County Health Department plans to begin notifying the Chico Unified School District about taking precautions during back-to-school nights and other evening events scheduled with classes starting August 19.

“The virus cannot be spread from person to person, the only viable way to contract the virus is from a bite from an infected mosquito,” said Lundberg. “The main time parents should be concerned is at dawn and dust.”

The Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District confirmed last week at least four dead birds and 13 mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile Virus. All four of the birds were found in the Chico area. The recent discovery of the deceased birds now brings the total located in the county to five, and positive pools to 14. The district urges residents to take all precautions to drain any and all unneeded standing water, report any mosquito breeding sites to the District, and protect themselves from bites.

On July 22, The Butte County and Vector Control District confirmed a “pool” of mosquitos from the Nelson area tested positive for the virus. WNV was also positively confirmed in a bird in the Durham area a week prior.

Today’s announcement by the County Health Department now brings the total to 15 confirmed human cases throughout California in 2013. In 2012, 479 cases of WNV were confirmed in Claif., resulting in 20 deaths.

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