County health campaign against West Nile virus - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

County health campaign against West Nile virus

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health is scheduled to kick off its annual campaign against West Nile virus Wednesday morning.

Department officials have scheduled a news conference to talk about this year's WNV season and provide information on how residents can protect themselves.

WNV became epidemic across the United States last year and hit California hard, but San Diego County was left practically unscathed.

An Escondido man was discovered to have WNV last July, when he donated blood that was screened. And like four out of five people who become infected, he didn't get sick.

A dead crow found in La Jolla last October was the only infected bird found in the county last year. However, around the nation more than 5,400 people were sickened with WNV in 2012, with almost 250 deaths attributed to the disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

About one in 150 people infected with West Nile virus will develop serious, potentially fatal symptoms, health experts say. The risk is greater for people over 50 or with weakened immune systems.

The health department recommends that people stay in around dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are active, or wear long sleeves and pants; dump out water in plant saucers, buckets, wheelbarrows or old spare tires where the insects can breed; and report dead birds and green swimming pools at abandoned houses.

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