First Deaths Linked to West Nile Virus in California, Including LA County, Confirmed for 2017

The California Department of Public Health announced today three confirmed deaths in the state due to the West Nile Virus, according to Long Beach health officials who advised residents to take the necessary precautions.

 

Those dead were residents of Kern, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. CDPH officials were not able to provide additional patient details, including demographic information and the name of the hospital providing care, to protect confidentiality, according to a release from the City of Long Beach.

 

“These first three deaths in California due to West Nile virus is a reminder of the serious risk of mosquito bites,” said Dr. Anissa Davis in a statement. “I would like to advise Long Beach residents to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and minimize the risk of infection, especially during this time of year when the risk of infection is at its highest.”

 

It was also revealed today that three human cases have been documented in Long Beach so far this year.

 

City health officials said the three documented human WNV cases have resulted in deaths. The first human case was reported in mid-August. City officials also documented birds, chickens and mosquitoes with WNV. 

 

City health officials are currently updating their map with the latest WNV data. You can find that information here.

 

The virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and while most people infected show no symptoms, fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache may occur. About one in 150 infected may develop more serious diseases, such as brain inflammation and paralysis, according to the release. Persons experiencing these symptoms are advised to seek immediate care.

 

The Health Department is recommending residents protect against mosquito bites and West Nile Virus by taking the following precautions:

 

  • Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

  • Mosquitoes can breed in standing water. Eliminate standing water on your property by dumping or draining water in neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or anything that can hold water. Dumping or draining water will interrupt the mosquito life cycle. Remember to clean out containers to eliminate any eggs remaining in the container.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

  • Use mosquito repellant containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Residents should follow repellant instructions on the label. Consult with your child’s pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of two.

  • Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes and check to make sure your window screens are in good condition.

  • Maintain all swimming pools in a clean and sanitary manner, with all circulation and filtration equipment operational and chemical levels within recommended guidelines; drain water from pool covers.

  • Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to twice a week to avoid runoff to gutters and around sprinklers. Do not overwater plants or lawns to avoid creating pools of standing water.

  • Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Public Health by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD or online here.

The Long Beach Health Department continues active surveillance for mosquito populations and works to control them in known public breeding locations such as ponds, wetlands and flood channels. Residents are encouraged to do their part by eliminating standing water in and around their property and reporting breeding sources, such as “green pools,” to the Health Department’s Zika hotline at (562) 570-7907. Residents experiencing “day-biting” mosquitoes are also encouraged to call the hotline.



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