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June 28th, 2010
03:52 PM ET

West Nile virus found in California

Jerry Davis spends a lot of time thinking about mosquitoes.  Davis is the manager of the Turlock Mosquito Abatement District in Turlock, California.  The West Nile virus has started showing up in his central California community.  So far, three dead birds have tested positive for the virus.  It's hard to catch Davis in the office.  This is his "busy season."  "It's like Christmas or tax day," he says.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1999 when West Nile was first discovered in the United States, over 29,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease.  Of  those, more than 12,000 people have been seriously ill.  Just over a thousand people have died.  Here are the three things you need to know about the West Nile virus.

What are the symptoms?

According to the Mayo Clinic, most people with West Nile virus have no symptoms.  In about 20 percent of cases, people develop a mild infection called West Nile fever.  The symptoms include fever, headaches, body aches and fatigue.  In less than 1 percent of infected people, the virus causes a serious  neurological infection such as encephalitis.

What can I do to protect myself and my family?

The best thing to do is wear insect repellent.  Click here for a list of the best repellents to use.  You should also wear long sleeves and pants if possible.  You should also get rid of standing water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

How bad is West Nile in my state?

Every state health department keeps statistics.  Click here to see your state's West Nile webpage.


soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Kate

    We found a baby magpie that died within an hour of obvious West Nile symptoms (seizures) in our yard near Sacramento a couple of weeks ago. I reported it, but was told that since it was a juvenile meant they weren't interested in testing it. I was surprised to hear that only now they are saying West Nile was found.

    June 28, 2010 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. jah-ster garr-ster

    how do u not get it put some bug spray on duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

    June 29, 2010 at 07:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. jah-ster garr-ster

    YALL NEED TO FOCUS ON BUG SPRAY SAY THE BIG WORD BUG SPRAY

    June 29, 2010 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Wowhead

    West Nile has been in California since 2002. Nothing new.

    June 29, 2010 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. ray

    For some of us. Using bug spray is not enough. I still get bit. We also have tried foggers, citronella candels, the off thing that has a candle under it, getting rid of standing water and so forth. This has still not helped. I get bit everytime no matter what time of the day. I live in North georgia and for some reason the mosquito's love me and hate my husband.
    If you have any other solutions that want kill me I am willing to try.

    July 14, 2010 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.