West Nile strikes

Southern California man hit with virus

A Santa Barbara County man is the first person to be infected with West Nile virus in California this year, according to the California Department of Public Health.

CDPH officials have amped up their monitoring of the virus, which is most commonly transmitted to humans via mosquito bites. Less than one percent of those infected by the virus develop neurological illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis, but individuals with diabetes or hypertension and those older than 50 are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill.

The Santa Barbara County man was hospitalized but is recovering at home.

To avoid mosquitoes, the CDPH recommends bug repellent, long sleeves and pants, staying inside during dawn and dusk, and eliminating standing water around the home. For a county-by-county breakdown of mosquito samples, dead birds reported and more, visit www.westnile.ca.gov.