1st confirmed death from West Nile virus in Antelope Valley

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
A mosquito is shown in this undated file image.
A mosquito is shown in this undated file image.

LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles County public health officials have confirmed the first death from West Nile virus in the Antelope Valley this year.

Details on the patient are being kept confidential.

"This death is a tragic reminder of how severe West Nile virus can be," District Manager Cei Kratz said. "People need to stay vigilant in protecting themselves and removing potential mosquito breeding sites."

Public health officials say there have been 93 human cases of West Nile virus in Los Angeles County this year, including six fatalities.

The West Nile virus is generally blamed on mosquitoes, which typically pick up the virus from dead birds and spread it to animals and humans.

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.

People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious complications from the virus.

While the mosquito season in the Antelope Valley is winding down, public 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.