West Nile Virus Claims 4 Lives in Northern California

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Health officials confirm that mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus have led to four deaths in Northern California this year.

Kaiser’s Doctor David Herbert says he’s seen many Sacramento patients concerned about the virus. He says anyone can get it, but most of us will never even know if we have it

“About 80% who get infected by a bite of a mosquito have no symptoms at all,” said Herbert. He says the other 20% get West Nile Fever.

“That’s aches and pains and a fever. It kind of feels like they are coming down with the flu, but they don’t get the respiratory problems a flu causes,” says Herbert.

For less than 1%, the virus invades the brain and spinal cord.

“A few of those people can actually die because it can be quite serious,” says Herbert.

Doctor Herbert says those patients are typically elderly, or have a compromised immune system.

He says you can reduce your chance of getting the virus by using bug spray, and be mindful of what time you’re outside.

“Most of the Sacramento mosquitoes carrying the virus are active at dawn or dusk,” says Herbert.

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