LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- The first human case of West Nile Virus in the Antelope Valley of 2014 was reported by the L.A. County Department of Public Health on Monday. Twelve cases were reported in the Antelope Valley at the same time last year.
A total of 59 human infections of West Nile Virus have been reported in the entire county of Los Angeles so far this year, three of which were fatal. Patients range in age from 24 to 89 years old this year.
There were 96 total cases reported at the same time in 2013 in L.A. County.
So far in 2014, 26 sentinel chickens, five dead birds and four mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus in the Antelope Valley alone, according to the health department.
In California there have been reports of West Nile Virus activity in 38 counties, with 311 human cases and 12 fatalities, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Mosquito season typically runs through October, when the weather turns colder, said a public health District Manager Cei Kratz.
The virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito and those mosquitoes are in turn infected by birds that can carry the virus. But most mosquitoes do not carry the virus, health officials say, and most people bitten by a mosquito will not be exposed to West Nile.
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.
To stay up-to-date on new WNV activity in the Antelope Valley and any mosquito-related information, visit www.avmosquito.org, or facebook.com/avmosquito, ir follow on Twitter @AVMosquito. To reach the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District: (661) 942-2917.