ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (KABC) -- Orange County residents are being warned after mosquito samples tested positive for Saint Louis encephalitis last week, the first detection of the viral disease in the area in over three decades, public health officials announced.
The samples were collected along Old Bolsa Chica Road in Westminster and the area of Dale and Orange avenues in Anaheim, according to the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District.
The viral disease is spread to people by the bite of a SLE-carrying mosquito. Once infected, symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. The disease can also cause swelling of the brain and in some rare cases, long-term disability or even death, health officials said.
There have not been any confirmed cases of human infection, but Orange County residents are being urged to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
"The best way to protect yourself from mosquito bites is to discard any standing water around your home to eliminate potential breeding sources," said agency spokesperson Heather Hyland in a press release.
Wearing mosquito repellent and long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outside are also effective ways to avoid being bit.