Now 5 Human Cases of West Nile Virus near Redlands and Loma Linda in 2012

Two new human cases involve residents of Rialto and San Bernardino, Maxwell Ohikhuare of the county Department of Public Health said Thursday in a phone interview.

The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health has confirmed two new symptomatic human West Nile Virus cases near Redlands and Loma Linda, bringing the county total of human cases in 2012 to three.

The two new human cases involve residents of Rialto and San Bernardino, Maxwell Ohikhuare of the county Department of Public Health said Thursday in a phone interview.

In addition, another human case of West Nile Virus was confirmed Tuesday in western , southwest of Loma Linda and Redlands.

"The patient is a 22-year-old man who lives in Western Riverside County," Jose Arballo of the Riverside County Department of Public Health said in an announcement. "He is recovering at home after being hospitalized and is the second confirmed human case this year in Riverside County."

A total of five human cases of West Nile had been confirmed near Redlands and Loma Linda as of Sept. 6.

Earlier this summer, in Colton, Fontana, Rialto, and Upland tested positive for West Nile.

In addition, samples of mosquitoes in Redlands, San Bernardino, Colton and Fontana and a dead crow in San Bernardino tested positive for West Nile, county health officials said.

Sheriff's helicopter crews have begun actively looking for and other potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes, according to the Sheriff's Department.

West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito that has fed on an infected bird, health officials said. Signs and symptoms of the virus can include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache.

"Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms; however, some people may develop severe symptoms which can lead to neuroinvasive disease such as meningitis or encephalitis," San Bernardino County health officials said. "People over 50 years old should be especially cautious, as they are more likely to develop serious illness if they contract the virus."

Across the U.S. this year, more than 1,900 human cases of West Nile Virus, including 87 fatalities, had been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Sept. 4. Three deaths have been reported so far this year in California, in Kern, Fresno and Sacramento counties.

San Bernardino County health officials offered the following tips to residents to protect themselves and their families from West Nile Virus:

Drain or Dump: Remove all standing water around your property where mosquitos lay eggs such as birdbaths, green swimming pools, ponds, old tires, buckets, clogged gutters, or even puddles from leaky sprinklers.

Dawn and Dusk:  Avoid spending time outside when mosquitos are most active.

Dress: Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.

DEET: Apply insect repellent containing DEET according to manufacturer’s directions.

Doors: Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitos from entering your home.

For more information, contact the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Services at (800) 442-2283 or visit www.sbcounty.gov/dehs.

Dead birds can be reported to the State West Nile Virus toll-free hotline at (877) WNV – BIRD. More information is available on the state's West Nile Virus webpage at westnile.ca.gov.

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