A 74-year old Stockton man has been tentatively diagnosed with the West Nile virus, according to the San Joaquin County Health Services Department.
The man, whose name has not been disclosed, has initially tested positive, but the case can only be confirmed after further testing is completed, according to a news release.
If the man tests positive, it will be the first human infection of the mosquito-borne disease in the county this year, according to county Public Health Officer Karen Furst.
The West Nile virus can be fatal. It hit home in 2005, when an Acampo man, Jim Rodgers, 86, died from complications of West Nile.
The Stockton man diagnosed this week has been hospitalized with a neuroinvasive form of the disease, which means the victim can endure several medical problems.
Most people infected with the virus will not experience any illness, Furst said. The risk of serious illness to most people is low. About one in five people infected with the virus will have headaches, fever and fatigue. However, fewer than one percent will develop serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis.
People age 50 and older have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop serious symptoms when infected with the West Nile virus, Furst said. Recent data also indicate that those with diabetes or hypertension are at greatest risk for serious illness.
Residents are advised to apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions, to keep mosquitoes from biting. Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older. Mosquitoes carrying the virus tend to bite in the early morning and evening.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.