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West Nile Virus Confirmed in Riverside County


Last updated 10/3/2019 at 11:11am

The first two human cases of the West Nile virus have been confirmed by health officials on Aug. 29 in Riverside County.

The 65-year-old Mecca woman and 71-year-old Coachella man are expected to recover, according to Riverside University Health System.

It is, however, not rare for mosquitoes to transmit the virus to humans in Southern California.

Prior to the announcement, there were 45 confirmed human cases. In 2018, 15 human cases were reported in Riverside County and in 2017, 33.

Many have been infected in the last few years, but no one in the county has died due to the illness until this year, according to officials.

In July, Salton Sea resident Robert Mears, 74, was the first in the state to die from the virus.

The only other virus-related death in 2019 was in Fresno County.

The virus is transferred to humans via mosquito bite. The mosquitoes pick up the virus while feeding on infected birds. Most people infected with West Nile do not become ill. However, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at an increased risk of becoming sick.

Health officials are recommending people avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are active at dawn and dusk. They also suggest wearing insect repellent with DEET and making sure windows and doors have tight-fitting screens.

In addition, it’s recommended people get rid of standing water on their property to discourage mosquito breeding.

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