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SLO County health officials say threat remains for West Nile virus

James Gathany, CDC
Larvae of Culex mosquitoes in standing water.

San Luis Obispo County has confirmed one case of West Nile virus, detected in the body of a dead bird in Atascadero.

West Nile virus can be contracted by humans, horses, and birds through mosquito bites. The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department said this is the only evidence of the virus in the county this year.

Statewide, so far this year the virus has been found in 43 counties. 211 humans contracted the disease, and eight died from the illness. Most people infected with West Nile don’t experience symptoms, but less than one percent can develop a serious neurologic illness. 

Leslie Terry from the county’s Environmental Health Department said the virus isn’t very common on the Central Coast. Terry said the only way to prevent it from happening is to avoid getting bitten by an infected mosquito. Terry said to make sure to wear bug spray and long clothing outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk, when mosquito activity is high. The county health department also asks residents to eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed.

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