West Nile virus case detected in San Luis Obispo County

By David Sneed

A 50-year-old San Luis Obispo County man who traveled to Fresno County where he was bitten by an infected mosquito has contracted the West Nile virus.

The unnamed man displayed no symptoms, and the disease was detected Monday when he was screened for a blood donation, said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer. Because he does not have symptoms, the man is not receiving medical treatment. No other information about the man was available.

“When people give blood we screen for a bunch of things including West Nile virus,” she said.

The case was the first for West Nile virus this year. Another traveler contracted the disease in 2014, and the last case that was contracted in San Luis Obispo County was 2009.

Borenstein said that people should take steps to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing long sleeves and pants, and use mosquito repellant when outdoors.

“We just want to make people aware that we have had a few cases of West Nile virus in the county,” she said. “Mosquito bites are itchy and annoying but they can have other consequences as well.”

Most people with the virus do not display symptoms. Mild cases of the disease cause flu-like symptoms including nausea, fevers and headaches.

Severe cases can cause brain infections and death, Borenstein said.