West Nile Virus affects four in Tulare County

West Nile Virus affects four in Tulare County

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:

  • No symptoms: approximately 80 percent of individuals infected will show no symptoms at all.
  • Mild symptoms: fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms generally last for a few days in up to 20 percent of individuals.
  • Serious symptoms: high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis. In less than one percent of individuals symptoms may last several weeks, neurological effects may be permanent, and WNV or the SLEV infection can be fatal.


    Tulare County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught strongly encourages residents to use increased safeguards to protect from both WNV and SLEV:

  • Use an effective mosquito repellent such as DEET.
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk or in areas where mosquitoes are active.
  • Drain standing water that may produce mosquitoes.
  • Repair or replace door and window screens that have tears or holes.
  • Contact your mosquito abatement district if you see areas of standing water that may be a breeding area for mosquitoes.


    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/.