The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency has confirmed that a 58-year-old Del Mar woman has been infected with the West Nile virus. That brings the total of confirmed human cases in the county this year to three, including a 38-year-old Carlsbad woman and a 24-year-old San Diego man.
According to Leslie Ridgeway, media representative for the County of San Diego, the unidentified Del Mar woman was hospitalized with meningitis after developing symptoms consistent with the West Nile virus infection. Ridgeway said the woman has since been released from the hospital. It is unclear whether the woman was infected in Del Mar or during a recent trip out of state.
In 2007, 15 people tested positive for locally acquired West Nile virus, all were diagnosed from late August to October.
"The West Nile virus season here is starting early," said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., the deputy county public health officer. "This serves as an important reminder to the public to take the appropriate precautions to protect against contracting West Nile virus.
Those recommended precautions include using insect repellent when outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. It is also recommended that residents ensure screens on windows and doors fit tightly and have on holes or other damage.
Most people infected with the West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms or become seriously ill. Nearly one in five who do fall ill may suffer such symptoms as headache, fever, nausea, fatigue or swollen glands. The risk of complication increases for those over the age of 50.
To date this year in San Diego County, 154 dead birds and eight sentinel chickens have tested positive for West Nile virus. One horse has died and five mosquito pools have been identified. For more information or to report dead birds, call (888) 551-4636 or go to