West Nile: First 2013 human case reported in Orange County

SANTA ANA, Calif.

This is the 15th human case reported in California. The woman was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of West Nile Virus in July. She has since returned home and is recovering.

Last year, there were 48 reported human infections and two West-Nile-Virus-related deaths reported in Orange County.

Dr. Eric Handler, Orange County's health officer, described West Nile Virus as endemic in the O.C., recurring every summer and continuing into the fall. He advised that the best way to avoid infection is to take certain precautionary measures to avoid mosquito bites.

Precautions include:

  • Empty all standing water on your property to reduce areas in which mosquitoes may breed, including flower pots and pet bowls.
  • Make sure your window and door screens are in good condition.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus or products containing IR3535. Always follow label directions.
  • Limit outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.

Health officials say most people infected with West Nile Virus do not experience symptoms, but about 20 percent experience fever and may develop headaches, body aches, nausea, tiredness and sometimes a skin rash. More serious symptoms, such as severe headaches, neck stiffness, confusion, muscle weakness or paralysis, occur rarely, but those who experience these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

People over 50 and with certain medical conditions have a higher risk of serious complications from West Nile Virus.

You can get more information on mosquito control by visiting www.ocvcd.org.

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