First Bay Area West Nile virus fatality reported

The Bay Area’s first death resulting from the West Nile virus is not alarming San Francisco health officials.

An elderly woman, who lived in the central part of Contra Cost County, died “some days ago” as a result of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, Wendel Brunner, the county’s public health director, announced Thursday morning. The woman is the second to die of the virus this year in California.

While this recent West Nile-related death occurred near San Francisco, there is no reason to believe people in The City are more at risk for contracting the disease, according to city officials.

Contra Costa County has a “very different climate than we’re dealing with here,” San Francisco’s Senior Health Inspector Helen Zverina said. San Francisco’s cool nights make it difficult for the virus to spread, she said, adding that the virus needs temperatures to be at least 60 degrees overnight.

To determine if West Nile is a threat to residents, The City’s Department of Public Health tests dead birds. The virus is often spread among birds by mosquitoes.

So far this year, none of the 50 dead birds tested by the DPW have been infected with West Nile. Of the 60 dead birds examined last year, three tested positive.

Health officials will remain vigilant, as the mosquito season peaks in September.

To cut down on mosquitoes in San Francisco, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has implemented a $1.5 million program this year that kills mosquitoes in The City’s 20,000 water catch basins, or sewers.

Every month, bike messengers are given a capsule of larvicide, an oily chemical that kills mosquito larvae, to drop into every city sewer. The sewers are considered The City’s largest source for mosquito breeding.

The state’s first West Nile-related death this year occurred on Aug. 17, when an elderly Butte County woman died after contracting it. The elderly are more likely to die of the disease.

Since 1999, 49 deaths due to West Nile have been documented in California. Symptoms of the disease include a fever, headache and nausea.

jsabatini@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

Just Posted

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Sunday was wettest October day in San Francisco history

Torrential rainfall causes flooding, triggers evacuations in burn areas

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

While Kaiser Permanente patients seeking mental health care will get a 30-minute phone assessment within days, in many cases, they cannot get actual treatment for months. (Shutterstock)
City employees face months-long wait time for mental health care

‘We are in the midst of a mental health crisis’

Klay Thompson, left, and his boat dealer Kenyon Martin take on his test drive on the NBA star’s 37-foot vessel; injury woes sent Thompson, the Golden State guard, looking for solace. He found it on the water. (Courtesy Anthony Nuccio via New York Times)
Warriors star finds love with his fishing boat

Being on the water is a ‘safe space’ for Klay Thompson

Most Read