1st confirmed death from West Nile virus in Los Angeles County

ByABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
A mosquito is shown in this undated file image.
A mosquito is shown in this undated file image.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County public health officials have confirmed the county's first West Nile virus death this season.

Officials say the elderly man from the San Gabriel Valley had pre-existing health conditions before he was hospitalized and eventually died from the virus.

Meantime, Long Beach health officials have confirmed the city's first human case of West Nile virus this year. Details on the patient are being kept confidential.

Health officials say there have been 123 human cases of West Nile virus in California this year, including six cases in Orange County and four cases in L.A. County.

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.

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.

City News Service contributed to this report.