Find out about West Nile Virus
Published by Contra Costa Times
Posted on Fri, Aug. 18, 2006
By Francie Wise, RN, MPH
MOSQUITOES AND birds infected with the West Nile virus have been found in Contra Costa County. Our residents must take precautions against the disease right now.
Although no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in our county so far this year, there have been six confirmed human cases in other counties in California.
Most people infected with the virus don't get sick, but in rare cases the disease can be fatal. Even if you survive a severe illness with West Nile virus, you may take months to recover and suffer permanent nervous system damage.
Protect yourself and your family, especially during the mosquito season, which usually lasts from May through October. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about West Nile virus:
Help prevent West Nile virus by reducing mosquito populations. Don't let puddles or water stand for more than four days. Empty (and refill) ceramic pots and birdbaths every four days.
Aerate ornamental ponds or stock them with fish that eat mosquito eggs. Or, use a mosquito preventer, which is sold as small doughnuts or granules in many hardware stores.
In Contra Costa, free mosquito fish are available through Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control (925-685-9301.) Vector control also sprays in specific problem areas to help prevent mosquito breeding.
Report dead birds, which can carry West Nile virus, by submitting a report online at www.westnile.ca.gov or calling 877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473).
For more information about West Nile virus, visit Contra Costa Health Services Web site.
Francie Wise is director of communicable disease programs and public health nursing for Contra Costa Health Services. Healthy Outlook is written by the professional staff of Contra Costa Health Services, the county health department. Send questions to series coordinator Dr. David Pepper at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more health information, go to www.cchealth.org.