The first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) this year in Long Beach has been confirmed. The 61-year-old east Long Beach resident has no known underlying health issues and is currently recovering well, according to the City’s Health Department. As of Aug. 6, 2014, 35 human cases have been reported in 10 California counties, including Los Angeles (1) and Orange (6). There have been two WNV-related deaths this year in northern California.
WNV is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of WNV may include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Most people infected have no symptoms; approximately one in 150 may develop more serious disease, such as brain inflammation or paralysis. Persons with these symptoms should seek immediate care, according to the Health Department.
Dr. Mitchell Kushner, city health officer, is encouraging residents to protect themselves from WNV 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 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, icaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Residents should follow repellant instructions on the label. Consult with a pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of 2 years old.
• 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, contact the Vector Control program at (562) 570-4132 or online at longbeach.gov/health . More information about WNV may be obtained at the State of California Department of Health Services website at westnile.ca.gov or at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile .