S.F. Man Infected With West Nile Virus

Categories: Health, Local News
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Health officials have confirmed that a San Francisco man tested positive for the West Nile Virus, the first human case since 2005. What's more, the man has not traveled outside the Bay Area, which almost certainly means he contracted the disease right here.

The good news is that the man is recovering at home, and should be just fine.

Also See: West Nile Virus Makes Its Way to San Francisco.

Health officials say they there's no way to know if the man picked up the virus in San Francisco or one of the surrounding counties; either way, they are once again warning residents to watch out for those freeloading mosquitoes.

Last week, health officials papered neighborhoods with flyers alerting residents to the presence of West Nile Virus after they found a dead bird that had been infected with the disease. That was the third case reported since 2007.

But health officials are concerned, as West Nile Virus has been on the rise in California and across the nation. As of Sept. 25, there were 165 human cases of WNV reported. Nationally, 3,142 cases have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making this year the highest number of cases reported since 2003.

Almost 40 percent of the reported cases are from Texas. Of the 134 deaths nationwide, eight have occurred in California.

However, the local case is the first human to report having West Nile Virus in San Francisco since 2005 when the virus first became reportable. In 2010 one San Francisco resident became infected with the virus from an organ transplant.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has issued a health update to all medical providers in San Francisco, requesting that clinicians be on the lookout for human cases of West Nile Virus and to report all cases to the local health department.

You should know that four out of five infected people don't usually experience any symptoms or illness. Most of those who become ill develop mild symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, nausea, headache, muscle aches, skin rash, or swollen lymph nodes. However, it does sometimes cause more severe illness, including encephalitis or meningitis, particularly in the elderly and in folks with not-so -great  immune systems.

WNV is most often transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds (yuck). Human-to-human transmission of WNV occurs with organ transplants.

Currently, there is no human vaccine available, although several are in trials. So what can you do? Well, control those blood-sucking mosquito sources and get bug spray. Health officials have doled out the following advice:

  • Drain standing water; as little as a tablespoon of water can support mosquito breeding.

  • Report significant mosquito activity or standing water in San Francisco to DPH by calling 311

  • Report dead birds to the State WNV hotline at (877) WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473)

  • Install or repair screens on doors and windows.

  • Wear protective clothing with long pants and long sleeves (even in Oakland, where it's warmer). Treat clothing, hats, and mosquito netting with Permethrin insecticide to further discourage mosquitoes.

  • Apply an insect repellent containing at least 20 percent DEET or 20 percent Picaridin to exposed skin when mosquitoes are active. For guidance on use of DEET on children, refer to the CDC.

Good luck.
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Ellie Kitty Stevenson
Ellie Kitty Stevenson

Thank U for sharing.. I didn't know.. I'm gonna double check to make sure I don't have any standing water around My House..

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