2 infected with West Nile virus in California

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California health officials have reported that two people have been infected with West Nile virus in the state.

The infections occurred in San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties in Northern California. Authorities said neither person is seriously ill. The Contra Costa patient was released from the hospital. The other person didn’t require hospitalization.

“These reported West Nile virus cases remind us that taking a few minutes to protect ourselves and our families from mosquito bites can make a big difference,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health and state health officer.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Only about two of 10 people bitten will develop symptoms, which can include fever and body aches. But serious illness such as encephalitis and meningitis are possible, and the elderly are at greater risk. In April, Paul Salamunovich, the longtime director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale who helped score movies including “The Godfather,” died of West Nile virus complications. He was 86.

Health officials urge residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites, including using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes and birds in 19 California counties this year.

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