SHERMAN OAKS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) --A mosquito trapped in Sherman Oaks is the first found to be carrying the West Nile virus in Los Angeles County this year.
Officials say the virus is appearing earlier this year than in the past. The infected mosquito was found in the Sepulveda Basin during a routine sampling done by the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.
According to officials, our unseasonably warm temperatures are to blame for early mosquito breeding. The public should expect more activity as the hot months progress.
West Nile virus, which has no known cure, is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus has appeared in eight counties statewide.
Health officials estimate that one out of five people will exhibit symptoms, which include fever, headache, body ache, nausea and skin rashes. The virus can be deadly for the elderly or those with compromised immune systems.
Of the 379 people infected last year in Los Angeles County, 15 people died.
Health officials say people should take measures to protect themselves.
"A simple one they can do is dump and drain. Any containers that contain any stagnant water, any dirty water in ponds or pools, should defiantly be cleaned out," said Levy Sun with Vector Control. "Another thing that people can do is to wear insect repellent. That's one of the most effective ways that people can do to prevent mosquitoes from biting them."