Long Beach’s First West Nile Virus Case of 2015 Confirmed in Male Resident

The first human case of West Nile Virus in Long Beach this year was confirmed by health officials on Monday.

The patient, an adult male, remains hospitalized in Long Beach, City Health Officer Dr. Mitchell Kushner said.

Doctors confirmed the case after numerous testings were conducted on the man, who had been feeling ill, said Kushner.

According to Kushner, the number of cases this year so far are dramatically lower compared to September 2014, which saw 28 confirmed cases of the West Nile Virus and two deaths.

As of Friday, September 11, 123 human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported from 23 California counties—including four in Los Angeles County and six in Orange County, according to a press release.

There have been two West Nile Virus-related deaths in the state this year.

“Now with the rain… and the warmth, it’s a good advisory for everyone to take precautions,” Kushner said.

The West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, with signs and symptoms—if any—including fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache, the release stated.

About one in 150 people with the virus may develop brain inflammation or paralysis.

Health officials encourage residents to protect themselves 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 draining water in neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or anything that can hold water.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants if you plan to be outdoors at dawn or dusk.
  • Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Residents should follow 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 years.
  • 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.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and drain water from pool covers.
  • Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to Tuesdays and Saturdays, and avoid run off to gutters and around sprinklers.
  • Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Health Services by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.

The Long Beach Health Department continues active surveillance for mosquito populations and works to control mosquito populations in known public breeding locations such as ponds, wetlands and flood channels. Residents can do their part by eliminating standing water in and around their property and reporting breeding sources to the Health Department at the number below.

For further information, contact the City of Long Beach Health Department, Vector Control Program at 562.570.4132, at www.longbeach.gov/health/wnv_info or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LBDHHS.

Further information about the WNV may be obtained at the California Department of Public Health website at www.westnile.ca.gov, or at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.