4 new West Nile cases in San Joaquin County

Four San Joaquin County residents have contracted West Nile virus, health officials reported Friday.

Three of those infected -- a 25-year-old man, a 55-year-old man, and a 51-year-old woman -- were from the southern part of the county. A 16-year-old boy from the northern part of the county also was infected.

The county did not release names or hometowns of the victims, or the degree of their illness.

There have been eight human cases reported this year in San Joaquin County, matching the total from last year. Stanislaus County has reported 16 cases and Merced County four, according to the state's West Nile Web site, http://westnile.ca.gov. Stanislaus had 11 cases last year, and Merced four.

Statewide, there have been 290 cases reported, compared with 236 last year. Kern County has a state-high 117 human cases reported this year.

Health officials remind people that there are steps that can be taken to avoid infection, including:

  • Avoid being outdoors during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most likely to bite.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET when outdoors, and wear long sleeves and long pants.
  • Empty standing water in flower pots, buckets, empty tires, barrels or rain gutters. Change water regularly in pet dishes and birdbaths and keep wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.
  • Report unusually high mosquito levels, as well as dead birds.