Viral skeeters still biting

Four more human infections of West Nile virus in Butte County have been reported to the county Department of Public Health, bringing the total number of reported cases to six. All of the new cases had West Nile fever, the milder form of the illness. Fortunately, nobody locally has died from the disease—so far.

The victims were three women—from Durham, Gridley and south Chico—and a girl from a west Chico neighborhood. The last was somewhat of a surprise. “Very few cases of West Nile virus in children come to our attention,” stated Dr. Mark Lundberg, county health officer. “When children do become infected with WNV, they tend to have a very mild illness, so many cases may go unrecognized.”

As of Tuesday (Aug. 14), there had been 108 reported WNV cases in California, including five fatalities. Most of the fatalities have been elderly persons. (For a county-by-county breakdown, see Sifter, p. 12.)

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