SLO County resident tests positive for West Nile Virus
August 18, 2016
A San Luis Obispo County resident has tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the county public health department. The positive test marks the first confirmed case of a person in the county contracting the virus since 2009.
Health officials say the virus was detected through routine blood donor screening. The afflicted resident is displaying no symptoms and is doing well.
“This case of West Nile Virus in a blood donor reminds us that the virus is present in our county,” Health Officer Penny Borenstein said.
West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that most often spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus can be passed on to others through transfusions, and an infection is potentially fatal.
Most people infected with West Nile do not show symptoms. Approximately 20 percent of those infected develop mild symptoms, such as fever and body aches, which typically last a few days. About 1 in 150 people who become infected with the virus develop severe illness.
The most effective way to avoid the disease is to prevent mosquito bites, Borenstein said. To ward off mosquitoes, health officials recommend applying insect repellant; wearing protective clothing; repairing or replacing broken screens in homes; eliminating all standing water near homes; and frequently changing pet drinking water containers.