1st West Nile Virus death confirmed in San Bernardino County. Is this just the beginning?

A San Bernardino County resident who tested positive for West Nile Virus died on Wednesday, marking the county's first death associated with the mosquito-borne illness this year. A total of seven West Nile Virus cases have been detected within the county this year so far.

"Due to increased rainfall this year, there has been a surge in mosquito activity this season," said San Bernardino County Health Officer Michael A. Sequeira, M.D. "We urge everyone to take proactive measures to eliminate potential breeding sites around their homes and to protect themselves from mosquito bites."

Officials also said that the recent Tropical Storm Hilary is "likely to exacerbate" the number of West Nile Virus contractions, throughout all of Southern California.

Last month, Los Angeles was ranked the "top mosquito city in the United States" for the third year in a row, according to a study conducted by pest industry leader, Orkin. Mosquitoes typically become active in temperatures 68 degrees and above, and are attracted to water sources, according to experts.


West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of the virus can include a fever, body aches, rashes, nausea, vomiting and headaches. The highest risk of infection increases from summer through early fall.

Experts agree that the most effective way to avoid West Nile Virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites. Here are some helpful, precautionary tips when engaging in outdoor activities, particularly at dawn or dusk:

  • Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts that are loose fitting and light colored.
  • Remove or drain all standing water around your property. Mosquitos often lay their eggs in spots like birdbaths, ponds, old tires, buckets, clogged gutters and puddles from leaky sprinklers.
  • Make sure all doors and windows are fitted with tight screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home.
  • Use insect repellent that has ingredients approved by the EPA, like DEET, IR 3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Report green or neglected pools in your neighborhood.