A man in his mid-70s has become the first Long Beach resident to die from complications associated with West Nile Virus (WNV) since 2004, according to Dr. Mitchell Kushner, public health officer for the City of Long Beach, who made the announcement on Monday, Nov. 18.
The deceased had lived in east Long Beach was hospitalized in October.
Long Beach has reported six human cases to date in 2013. There have been eight WNV-related fatalities in Los Angeles County this year. Statewide, there have been 349 human cases reported, including 13 fatalities, as of Nov. 12, 2013.
“The death of a Long Beach resident due to West Nile virus is a sad and sobering reminder of the risk posed by mosquito bites,” Dr. Kushner said. “Even though summer is over and West Nile Virus season is winding down, warm weather can continue, and mosquitoes can still be active. We should still take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and minimize the risk of WNV infection.”
To reduce the risk of exposure to the virus, Dr. Kushner is advising residents to take the following precautions:
• Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
• Since mosquitoes breed in standing water, dump or drain 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 while outdoors at dawn or dusk.
• Use mosquito repellant containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Residents should follow instructions on the label. A pediatrician can indicate 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.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and drain water from pool covers.
• Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to twice a week to 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 westnile.ca.gov .
In a press release issued Nov. 18, the Long Beach Health Department indicated it will continue with active surveillance of mosquito populations and work closely with the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District to educate residents and reduce mosquito populations in Long Beach.
For more information, contact the City of Long Beach Health Department Vector Control Program at (562) 570-4132 or online at longbeach.gov/health/wnv_info/resource.asp .
Source: City of LB