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Press Release

Human Case of West Nile Virus Confirmed in Contra Costa County

Friday, June 20, 2014

Contra Costa Public Health officials announced today that the county's first human case of West Nile virus of the year has been confirmed. The case involved a man in his 60s from Central Contra Costa County. The virus has already been identified in birds in Central and East Contra Costa County.

The Contra Costa resident was hospitalized, but has been released from the hospital and is recovering, said Erika Jenssen, Contra Costa Public Health's Communicable Disease Programs Chief. The virus is typically spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There have been no fatalities related to West Nile virus in Contra Costa since 2006, and there are typically between three and five cases reported each year in Contra Costa. In 2013 we had five human cases and all recovered.

"The risk of becoming ill from the bite of a mosquito infected with West Nile virus is low. Most people who become infected will not develop symptoms and will not need to seek care," Jenssen said. "However, in some cases, it can be very serious. This is a reminder that summer is here and it's important to reduce the risk of West Nile virus by taking precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes."

West Nile Virus symptoms are usually mild, such as fever, headache and body ache. However, people over 50 years of age and those with diabetes and/or hypertension may be more vulnerable to severe symptoms.

To avoid being bitten by mosquitos and infected with West Nile, people can take the following steps:

  • Avoid activity outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and dusk.
  • When outdoors, wear long pants, long sleeve shirts and other protective clothing.
  • Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 according to label instructions.
  • Make sure that doors and windows have tight fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.
  • Contact Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work, including abandoned swimming pools.
  • Report dead birds by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473).

For more information about the West Nile virus, go to or

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Press Contact
  • Vicky Balladares, 925-313-6268