1800 Mt. Vernon Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93306-3302
Claudia Jonah MD
November 19, 2013
First WNV Associated Death in Kern County
Public Information Officer
## For Immediate Release ##
The Kern County Public Health Services Department sadly announces the first West Nile Virus associated death of a Kern County resident for the 2013 season. A 76 year old male resident passed away after progressing through three months of recovery from the infection.
“West Nile Virus is endemic in Kern County but we were hoping that we would not have to announce a death related to the infection for this season” said Claudia Jonah, M.D., Health Officer. “It is necessary to remember that depending on who becomes infected, there are occasions in which this illness can be deadly.”
“No one can predict if they will be one of the few to become severely ill from this virus. Kern County residents are reminded to actively protect themselves from mosquito bites outdoors as well as indoors. We also need to protect our children and the elderly from exposure by preventing mosquito bites, repairing damaged screens and removing sources for mosquito breeding around our homes,” said Public Health Director Matt Constantine.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans, birds, and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. Dr. Jonah is urging everyone to use all available preventive measures to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitos which carry West Nile virus as well as other diseases. Kern County citizens can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by following the 3 Ds of prevention:
DAY/DUSK/DAWN: Avoid spending time outside unprotected from mosquitoes. In addition to mosquito species that like to feed at dusk and dawn, there has been identification in California of the day biting Aedes aegypti mosquito that can transmit infections such as dengue. Also make sure that the screens on your doors/windows are properly placed and secure and use protective clothing when going outdoors.
DEET: Apply insect repellant containing DEET according to label instructions.
DRAIN: Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.
Contact your local mosquito and vector control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.
For more information about West Nile virus and to report green pools in Kern County, call 661-321-3000 for dead birds or squirrels; call the California Department of Public Health West Nile virus line at 1-877-WNV-BIRD; or online at http://westnile.ca.gov.