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West Nile virus found in Fallbrook


Last updated 3/20/2008 at Noon

SAN DIEGO — The West Nile virus has been detected in birds found in Fallbrook as well as ones found in Poway, Ramona and Santee, according to County Vector Control officials.

Officials warn that individuals over the age of 50 are particularly susceptible to the virus.

“While there have been no deaths from West Nile virus in San Diego County, 14 of the 15 locally acquired human cases last year were in people over the age of 50,” said Gary Erbeck, director of the Department of Environmental Health. “People over 50 and individuals with compromised immune systems are at risk of developing more serious symptoms, such as meningitis or encephalitis.”

This early season indicates that mosquitoes are surviving the winter months and continue to spread the infection.

A wet winter and warm spring have created ideal mosquito breeding conditions, which could mean that West Nile virus activity may increase this year.

To protect yourself:

• Eliminate all standing water sources on your property, including leaky hose faucets and irrigation pipes, children’s pools and toys, plant saucers, old tires, rain collection barrels, uncovered boats and sagging tarps. Mosquitoes can breed even in small amounts of water.

• Protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors, and stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and dusk.

• Use an insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and clothing and keep door and window screens closed and in good repair.

• Report birds that have been dead for less than 24 hours, are intact and are not covered with ants or flies by calling Vector Control. Dead birds may be an indication that the virus is active in the area. Mosquitoes that feed on infected birds become carriers and can pass the virus to humans.

For more information, call the county’s West Nile virus information line at (888) 551-4636.


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