By Bay City News
A Novato resident has tested positive for the West Nile virus, marking the first case detected in a person in Marin County this year, health officials said today.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals by mosquitoes and infection rates are highest during the summer months, officials said.
Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis told Patch on Friday that the local resident is recovering.
He said additional details about the resident and the exact area where they live couldn’t be released.
Human infections have been reported in 37 California counties so far this year.
Willis said this year officials have seen a higher rate of dead birds infected with West Nile Virus than previous years.
Recent surveillance efforts, which includes testing dead birds and testing live chickens in coops throughout the county, revealed the virus was circulating in Marin, he said. Last week, a live chicken has been infected by the virus for the first time this year.
"It is an important reminder to take precautions against mosquito bites," Willis said in a statement.
Residents are encouraged to avoid mosquito bites by using a repellant and wearing protective clothing, especially during peak mosquito activity hours at dawn and dusk. Windows and doors should have tight-fitting screens without holes to keep mosquitoes outside.
In addition, all standing water should be eliminated or treated to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
While most people who are infected will not become seriously ill, a small number are at risk of serious neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis, officials said. Those most at risk include people older than 50 and those with diabetes or hypertension.
Willis said the virus isn’t be transmitted from person to person contact. “Most mosquitos aren’t infected and the vast majority of mosquito bites are nothing to worry about,” he said.
- Jessica Mullins contributed to this report.