According to the county Health Care Agency, there have been 26 human cases of West Nile virus across Orange County so far this year.
The West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious complications from the virus.
Those who become infected by the virus may never become sick or only suffer from mild symptoms such as headaches, fever, nausea, body aches and a mild skin rash. In rare cases, the virus can cause inflammation and swelling of the brain and death.
Health officials are urging residents to take precautions, including:
- Emptying all standing water around the home to reduce areas where mosquitoes may breed such as flower pots and pet bowls.
- Making sure windows and door screens are in good condition
- Using insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or products containing IR3535.
- Limiting outdoor activity at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.