The number of people who contracted West Nile virus in the region this year climbed to 17, two of whom died after becoming infected, San Diego County health officials said Thursday.
The cases of six people who fell ill were confirmed within the last week by testing in a state laboratory.
WNV is suspected in another 14 cases, including two additional deaths, but state lab tests in those cases have not been completed, according to county officials.
In 2014, 11 people in San Diego County contracted the mosquito-borne disease, two of whom died.
County officials have also recovered 278 dead birds infected with the disease, compared to 41 last year, and discovered 40 batches of infected mosquitoes, compared to six in 2014. They also reported that six sentinel chickens were infected with WNV, three times as many as last year.
Health officials said about 80 percent of people with WNV don’t get symptoms, while the remainder will have headaches, fever, nausea, fatigue, a skin rash or swollen glands.
Around one in 150 cases are life-threatening, and the risk goes up for patients over age 50, according to the HHSA.
The best protection is to empty out areas of standing water where mosquitoes breed, stay indoors at dusk and dawn when the insects are most active, and wear long sleeves and pants or use repellent when outdoors.
County officials also urged residents to contact their vector control program when they find dead birds or green swimming pools, by calling (858) 694- 2888 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
—City News Service
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