Health & Medicine

Butte County reports first human West Nile virus infection of 2019, 11th across California

Public health officials announced Tuesday that they have recently confirmed Butte County’s first human case of West Nile virus for 2019.

The infected person was an adult who had suffered fever-like symptoms, the Butte County Public Health Department said in a news release.

The Butte County infection is at least the 11th human case of the mosquito-borne virus this year across California, with the state West Nile virus website showing 10 prior human infections reported as of last Friday.

One human fatality has been reported statewide in 2019, in Imperial County, according to the state website. An additional 58 dead birds have tested positive throughout California – five of those in Sacramento County and two in Yuba County coming reported in the week ending last Friday. Yolo County last week saw two active samples in mosquitoes.

West Nile virus season lasts from July through October and is most active in the Butte County area in August, the county health department said in Tuesday’s news release.

About 80 percent of humans infected by West Nile virus experience no symptoms; most of the remainder suffer fever-related illnesses with body aches; and less than 1 in 150 people develop severe illnesses like meningitis or encephalitis.

Health experts warn to wear insect repellent, to avoid exposure to the insects during dawn and dusk and to drain any standing water, which is where mosquitoes lay their eggs.

Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.