Tulare County Public Health and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are investigating four cases of suspected West Nile Virus (WNV) infection in Tulare County. Three adult males and one child have been affected, three of the individuals from the Visalia area and one from Tulare. The West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, and there is no vaccine or medication to treat the virus.
Delta Vector Control has also confirmed that the St. Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV) has been detected in mosquitos in Tulare County.
Symptoms of WNV and SLEV are similar and the distinction for these four cases is not yet finalized. Most people infected have no symptoms; however, WNV and SLEV can affect the central nervous system and one in five people may develop a fever along with other symptoms. According to the California Department of Public Health, levels of illness vary:
Tulare County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught strongly encourages residents to use increased safeguards to protect from both WNV and SLEV:
Residents are asked to help track WNV by reporting all dead birds and squirrels. Call 1-877-968-2473 to report a dead bird or squirrel, or you can submit an online report to the California West Nile website at http://westnile.ca.gov/.