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1st 2018 case of human with West Nile virus

A 51-year-old man living in Stockton has contracted what is being called the first human case of West Nile Virus in San Joaquin County this year.

According to a statement released by the San Joaquin County Public Health Department on Tuesday, the man developed a mild form of the infection and has since fully recovered without medical intervention.

That announcement comes less than a month after the San Joaquin Mosquito and Vector Control District announced that the virus, which can be deadly, was detected in two mosquitos from a sample taken from the area that runs along the western portion of Stockton.

Last year the discovery of the virus in mosquitos – which are usually trapped and then tested to see whether the virus is present, and then track its potential progression – happened in South Manteca and Ripon at around the same time, and by the time the year was over 14 people had contracted the virus.

The disease, which is transmitted to humans and animals from the bite of an infected mosquito, can sometimes be acquired without even knowing it, according to the release – most people who acquire the disease don’t get sick, and the risk of serious illness is relatively low.

The release states, however, that a small percentage of people that acquire the virus can develop a serious neurologic illness like encephalitis or meningitis. It noted that people 50 and older and people with hypertension and diabetes have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to suffer complications.

Those experiencing symptoms that include severe headaches, a stiff neck, disorientation, or confusion are encouraged to seek medical attention immediately. While hospitalization wasn’t called for in the most recent confirmed case, it can be necessary for patients with neuro-invasive West Nile Virus – a course of treatment that includes intravenous fluids, respiratory support, and prevention of secondary infections. There is not currently a cure for West Nile Virus, nor is there a vaccine.

Of the total number of cases last year, 65 percent of those in San Joaquin County were of the neuro-invasive type, of which California has some of the highest rates in the nation according to the Centers for Disease Control. Last year there were 509 cases of the virus in California – more than 25 percent of the total cases in America – and 376 of which were neuro-invasive. A total of 28 people died from the disease in California, compared to 112 across the nation.

The San Joaquin Mosquito and Vector Control District has already begun its program of aerial and ground spraying at strategic locations throughout the county to help keep adult mosquito populations low. Last week aerial spraying using Trumpet EC was carried out in rural delta areas, while ground spraying using Pyrocide 7067 was completed in both the delta and the rural South County area – including along McMullin, Perrin and Hays Roads as well as along Airport Way.

Ground spraying in Stockton, including in North, Central, and West-Central parts of the city, was completed as well.

While spraying is used to help keep populations down and prevent infections, residents are urged to take necessary precautions when outdoors, especially in the early morning or late evening dusk hours.

Those include:                                     

*Checking your property for standing water and eliminating it as needed. Abandoned swimming pools were a major breeding ground for mosquitos during the economic downturn, but something as small as an old tire or a bucket that has collected rain or sprinkler water can provide the environment necessary for mosquitos to breed.

*Applying mosquito repellant that contains the ingredients DEET or Picaridin when outdoors in accordance with usage instructions.

*Avoiding being outside when mosquitoes are the most active, which is typically at dawn and at dusk, and especially for the first two hours after sunset.

*Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and other protective clothing when forced to be outdoors – especially during peak activity times.

*Making sure that windows and doors have tight-fitting screens to keep active mosquitoes outside of the home.

The virus is typically carried by birds and transmitted by mosquitos who feed on their carcasses and then bite humans. The State of California has a website to report dead birds for removal and subsequent study that can be found at

To report unusually strong mosquito infestations or daytime biting contact the San Joaquin Mosquito and Vector Control District at 209.982.4675 or visit them on the web at

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.