A Novato resident is the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Marin County in more than six years. The last documented human case of the virus was in 2006.

According to health officials, the individual whose name was not disclosed because of patient confidentiality laws is well on the road to recovery.

Though details about the exact area where the patient lived has not been revealed it is believed that exposure may have occurred near Novato. Apparently, he or she developed symptoms around July 20.

A chicken set out to test for West Nile virus exhibited a positive result in Novato near Gage Lane last week, which was proof that mosquitoes with the virus are in the area.

“The individual, a Novato resident, presented to their health care provider with fever and chills, muscle aches and a headache Wednesday and the provider was vigilant enough to test for West Nile virus,” said Matt Willis, a Marin County public health officer.

According to when health officials monitoring the disease carrying insects, 37 people have been infected in California. However, no cases have surfaced in Sonoma or San Francisco counties and one human case was detected in Contra Costa County.

Some precautions recommended
According to health regulators, the human case should remind the people to take precautions, such as using insect repellant containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535.

The best defense against the pesky insects is to tread cautiously in places where they breed. It is vital that yards and patios have no standing pools of water. Officials are urging people to drain out water from roof gutters, wading pools, flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.

People are asked to avoid outdoor activities after dark because the insects are most active at dawn and dusk. Mosquito bites can be avoided by covering exposed skin with lightweight clothing.

A little about Nile West virus
The West Nile virus is a type of virus known as a flavivirus, which is found in both tropical and temperate regions. West Nile virus is mainly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito, who transmits the virus, after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of birds carrying the virus.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), West Nile though rare, can be life-threatening. Most of the infected people exhibit either no symptoms, or flu like signs like fever, headache, nausea, and swollen lymph glands. However, sometimes the virus can cause severe illness which can infect the nervous system.

In such cases the symptoms range from headache, high fever, stiffness, disorientation, tremors, vision loss, convulsions and even death. Those over the age of 50 have a higher risk of severe symptoms because they have a vulnerable immune system.

Currently, there is no vaccine against the virus. Prevention and control of West Nile virus is most effectively accomplished through integrated vector management programs.

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