Risk of West Nile virus increases in California as a result of drought

Experts have said that at present, there is more risk of West Nile virus in California because of drought that hit the area. A case of death due to the virus has been already reported in the state. As per the Los Angeles Times, last year, number of death cases caused by the virus increased in California.

According to California officials, last year, there were more than 800 cases of West Nile in the state. As per reports, this number is highest since 2003, when the virus attacked California for the first time. There were more than 561 patients suffering from neurological problems from the disease. This is a very severe condition that could lead to swelling of the brain.

The virus is coming in contact with humans in their hunt for water. As per health officials, insect repellent should be used to keep mosquitoes at bay and protective clothing should be worn during morning and evening for the reason that during this time the insects are most active. They are also recommending that things like flower pots or buckets should be emptied since mosquitoes spread in standing water.

Karen Smith, director and state health officer of the California Department of Public Health, gave details on the association between the virus and drought. According to Smith, "As birds and mosquitoes sought water, they came into closer contact and amplified the virus, particularly in urban areas. The lack of water could have caused some sources of water to stagnate, making the water sources more attractive for mosquitoes to lay eggs".