Long Beach sees first case of West Nile virus this year

Public health officials are warning people to be vigilant during mosquito season after a patient in his or her 60s was diagnosed with West Nile virus in Long Beach this week, marking one of the first cases in Southern California so far this year.

“While the world is focused on COVID-19 prevention and response, this is an important reminder that we continue to see cases of West Nile Virus most years in Long Beach,” City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said in a statement. “We cannot let our guard down against mosquito-borne diseases.”

The first cases were initially reported in Northern California this year.

No mosquitoes in Long Beach have been found to be positive for the virus thus far this season.

The virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected Culex mosquito and may include symptoms such as fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache. Most people who become infected have no symptoms.

Long Beach health officials are advising residents to take the following precautions:

  • Prevent mosquito bites by applying insect repellent with EPA-registered active ingredients DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus before you go outside.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants if spending time outside during dawn and dusk. WNV-carrying mosquitoes are most active during those times.
  • Install or repair door and window screens.
  • Dump and drain standing water around your home.
  • Report large amounts of mosquitoes by visiting www.longbeach.gov/mosquitoes.
  • Report dead birds online at http://www.westnile.ca.gov/

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Kelly Puente is an award-winning general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. She has worked as a journalist in Long Beach since 2006, covering everything from education and crime to courts and breaking news. Kelly previously worked at the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register before joining the Post in 2018. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].