Long Beach on Friday reported its first case of West Nile virus amid a significant rise in cases across the state this season, officials said in a statement Friday.
So far this year, 75 cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been reported in California. At the same time a year ago, only 34 cases had been reported.
Five people have died in California of the disease. On Thursday, Los Angeles County health officials reported the county’s first death due to the virus—a resident of the San Fernando Valley.
West Nile, which usually arises in September and continues through fall, is known to cause serious illness and death in rare cases.
The person diagnosed in Long Beach is in their 60s and was hospitalized with neuroinvasive disease, which is more serious and affects less than 1% of infected people.
A majority of cases, in fact, are asymptomatic, according to a statement from the city.
Symptoms of West Nile virus could include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache. People who are over 50 or have chronic health conditions are at higher risk for severe illness.
Health officials urge the public to take precautions to prevent the spread of West Nile, which include:
- Applying insect repellent with EPA-registered active ingredients DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus before going outside.
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants if spending time outside during dawn and dusk, when virus-carrying mosquitoes are most active.
- Installing or repairing door and window screens.
- Dumping and draining standing water around your home.
- Reporting mosquitoes and learning more about mosquito prevention by visiting longbeach.gov/mosquitoes.
- Reporting dead birds online or call 877-WNV-BIRD (968-2473).