Environment & Science

Orange County confirms its first case of West Nile virus in 2015

Photo by Raj/prince_tigereye via Flickr Creative Commons

A man from Orange is the first person this year to contract West Nile virus in Orange County, said Matt Zahn, medical director for Orange County Public Health, but the man has since recovered. In 2014, 280 cases of the virus came up in Orange County.

While it is common for most people to catch West Nile from a mosquito, "knowing the individual source of where they got it can be difficult," Zahn said.

There is no determining factor of how many cases can be expected this year, Zahn said, but the season is just beginning.

"Late July and August is when we really start seeing cases. This will continue through September and on into October," he said.

There are some basic things people can do to try and avoid the virus. Zahn suggests:

  1. Getting rid of standing water on property where mosquitos can breed;
  2. Keeping window and door screens in good repair;
  3. Using insect repellent during dawn and dusk when mosquitos carrying West Nile are out the most. 

Zahn said the current drought might also make the virus more of an issue.

"What [we] think may be an issue is simply that with smaller amounts of water ... mosquitos may be found in areas [where] they weren't necessarily found and be more prone to exposure to persons," Zahn said.