Sunday, 26 May 2024

San Jose WNV victim visited Lake County

LAKE COUNTY – A San Jose woman who traveled around Northern California earlier this summer – with a stop to visit Clear Lake – has contracted West Nile Virus.

Test results delivered Aug. 2 confirmed the 48-year-old woman had contracted a mild form of West Nile Virus, said Joy Alexiou, Santa Clara County's public information officer.

The woman took a three-week camping trip during the mid to latter part of July, said Alexiou, traveling all around Northern California with some friends.

One of her stops was in Lake County, said Alexiou.

“We don't know exactly where she got it,” Alexiou said of the virus.

Although this is their second human case of West Nile Virus this season – the other was diagnosed shortly before this one – Alexiou said, in the woman's case, “We're confident that she did not get it in our county.”

On July 3, the woman – who just recently had returned from her camping trip – started to feel ill, said Alexiou. But it wasn't until later in the month that doctors began testing for the virus. “My guess is she didn't go to her doctor right away,” said Alexiou.

The symptoms the victim reported included a fever, body aches, fatigue and a body rash, said Alexiou. Health officials aren't sure the rash was related to the case of West Nile, however.

Luckily, the woman's case of West Nile was the mild – not the severe – form, said Alexiou. The severe form, she added, includes severe inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and can lead to death.

In mild cases, the symptoms match the San Jose woman's, and also sometimes include nausea and vomiting, Alexiou said.

Alexiou said Santa Clara County notified the state but didn't contact Lake County's health officials, which Dr. Craig McMillan, Lake County's public health officer, confirmed.

The reason Lake wasn't contacted, McMillan said, is likely “because the West Nile Virus is everywhere.”

West Nile has symptoms that resemble other diseases, like meningitis, a fact which the county's doctors are aware of, said McMillan.

The Santa Clara West Nile victim “probably thought it was something else” before she finally went to see a doctor, McMillan said.

So far, 2007 has proved to be a heavy year for West Nile cases statewide. So far there have been 64 human cases – more than tripling last year's figure of 20, according to the California West Nile Virus Web site. So far four people have died from the disease.

This year, the disease has been found in 42 counties, versus 43 in 2006. In 2006, there were 13 horse cases 299 dead birds, 349 mosquito samples, 83 sentinel chickens and no cases of squirrels with the virus, the California West Nile Virus Web site reported.

In comparison, this year there have been five horses diagnosed with West Nile, 502 dead birds, 402 mosquito samples, 66 sentinel chickens and seven squirrels, according to the state.

Here in Lake County, there have been no West Nile cases in humans, horses, chickens or squirrels, the West Nile Virus Web site reported. There have, however, been five mosquito samples that tested positive.

McMillan said he's “happily surprised” by those very low numbers. “That doesn't mean it's not out there,” he cautioned.

Alexiou said the woman is recovering but still feeling very tired. “If you get it you're down for a while,” she added, noting victims need weeks, sometimes months, of recovery time.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Upcoming Calendar

05.26.2024 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Lower Lake Daze
Memorial Day
05.28.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
05.29.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
PG&E virtual town hall
06.01.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.04.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
06.08.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.11.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
Flag Day

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.