California Hit Hard by West Nile

West Nile virus cases high in California as cases of mosquito borne illness continue across US

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) The buzzing and itching of mosquitoes can sometimes be more than annoying — it can be dangerous. This is a fact people across the US have come face to face with this summer.

The mosquito-borne West Nile virus has caused infections across the US, but one state, California, has been hit harder than the others.

Over 700 US cases have been reported so far this year, a third of which were in California.

"Clear standing water from around your home to reduce the presence of mosquitoes."

Many people with West Nile won't have any symptoms or even know they are infected, explained the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But about 20 percent of patients will have flu-like symptoms like fever, aches and vomiting.

For about 1 percent of patients, serious issues with the brain or spinal cord — called "neuroinvasive disease" — can develop. Of these neuroinvasive cases, around 10 percent may lead to death, the CDC reports.

Tuesday, the CDC reported that, so far in 2014, there had been 725 human West Nile cases in the US. This included 398 neuroinvasive cases and 25 deaths.

Of all the US states reporting cases, California reported the most — 237 infections and 10 deaths. Orange County, a highly populated county in the southern portion of the metropolitan Los Angeles area, reported 136 infections and three deaths.

Texas and Louisiana followed with 91 and 78 cases, respectively.

The CDC stressed that the best way to prevent West Nile is to prevent mosquito bites. The organization said to use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and long pants, and keep mosquitoes out of the home by using window and door screens.

The CDC also noted that most human infections with West Nile virus occur from June through September.

Review Date: 
September 18, 2014
Last Updated:
September 18, 2014