Health Dept. recommends precautions in wake of LB’s first human case of West Nile this year

Long Beach health officials say residents should take precautions against West Nile virus this year after the City’s first human case of the mosquito-borne disease for 2013 was recently confirmed.
The Long Beach Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Vector Control Program announced in a statement on Sept. 11 that an east Long Beach resident in his/her 60s contracted the disease and is now recovering at home after brief hospitalization. The statement did not provide the identity of the person.
The announcement comes after a Carson man in his late 70s reportedly died from the disease earlier this summer, marking Los Angeles County’s first death linked to the virus.
In August, health officials reported there were six dead birds that tested positive for the disease in Long Beach. Birds were discovered in the city’s 1st Council District in the harbor area, the 4th District near Cal State Long Beach, the 5th District near the Long Beach Airport and the 7th District near the Los Angeles River.
Birds with West Nile virus were also found in Downey and San Pedro. Though no infected birds were found in Signal Hill, a mosquito trap located in the 2000 block of Rose Street tested positive in July.
West Nile virus is transmitted through bites from mosquitoes, which feed on infected birds.
According to DHHS, signs and symptoms of the virus may include: fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache. However, most people infected have no symptoms. DHHS states that about one in 150 may develop a more serious disease, such as brain inflammation or paralysis and persons with these symptoms should seek immediate care.  
As of Sept. 10, there were 117 human cases reported in 23 California counties. In Los Angeles County, 66 cases were reported. Also, there have been six West Nile virus-related deaths this year in California.
Long Beach City Health Officer Dr. Mitchell Kushner states that, with the recent hot summer weather that has created “an ideal environment for mosquito breeding,” residents should protect themselves from 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.
• 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 pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of 2.
• Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes and check to make sure 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 at westnile.ca.gov .  
For more information, call the Long Beach DHHS Vector Control Program at (562) 570-4132, or visit westnile.ca.gov or cdc.gov/ncidod/ dvbid/westnile .

Source: DHHS

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