featured graphic for Orange County Health Care Agency during COVID-19

OC Health Care Agency reports first human West Nile Virus case of 2022

An adult male has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) infection, becoming the first human WNV infection in Orange County this year.

People over 50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions are at increased risk of serious complications from WNV infection. In 2021, there were three reported human infections of WNV, and zero WNV-related deaths reported in Orange County.

WNV is spread by insects, most often mosquitoes and can infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and some other mammals. Most people who become infected with WNV do not become ill, but about 20% will develop flu-like symptoms including fever headache, body aches, nausea, tiredness and sometimes a skin rash. More serious symptoms, such as severe headaches, neck stiffness, confusion, muscle weakness or paralysis, occur more rarely. People who develop severe symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

“West Nile Virus is endemic in Orange County, recurring every year during the summer months and continuing into the fall,” said Dr. Matthew Zahn, Deputy County Health Officer. “The best way to avoid West Nile Virus infection is to take precautionary measures to avoid mosquito bites.”

Recommended WNV precautions include:

  • Emptying all standing water on your property to reduce areas in which mosquitoes may breed, including flowerpots and pet bowls
  • Making sure your window and door screens are in good condition
  • Using insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or products containing IR3535, always following label directions
  • Limiting outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
Information on mosquito control is available on the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District’s website at  www.ocvector.org. Other websites with helpful information about WNV include:
This article was released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.