L.A. County confirms first human West Nile virus cases of the year

L.A. County confirms first human West Nile virus cases of the year

Public health officials on Thursday confirmed Los Angeles County’s first human cases of West Nile virus of the year.

Six cases have been confirmed in the Antelope, San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, with most patients hospitalized for the illness in late July and early August, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a release. All of the patients are recovering.

L.A. County does not report cases in Long Beach or Pasadena, which operate their own public health agencies; neither city has publicly reported any confirmed cases as of Thursday.

“This is a reminder that West Nile virus is active in Los Angeles County every year and mosquito control is a shared responsibility,” said Leann Verdick, district manager of the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Last year, the county reported 17 cases of West Nile, resulting in 12 hospitalizations and one death, a marked decline from 2020, which saw 93 cases, 79 hospitalizations and seven deaths.

The county has averaged 91 confirmed cases of West Nile for the past five years, although the true number of cases is likely higher as most people who are infected experience mild or no illness, so their cases are not reported.

Three-quarters of reported cases involved severe disease, according to L.A. County public health officials, and nearly 10% of those with severe disease die from complications.

The announcement comes two weeks after the Orange County Health Care Agency reported its first confirmed infection of the year.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes that are found throughout L.A. County, and health officials are urging the public to take measures to protect themselves, especially adults 50 and older and people with chronic health conditions who are susceptible to serious illness.

“Simple measures can reduce mosquitos and mosquito bites, like protecting yourself and your family with insect repellent and removing standing water outside your home,” Los Angeles County health officer Dr. Muntu Davis said in the release. “West Nile virus can lead to hospitalization or death, and, by taking preventative steps now, residents can better protect themselves against infection and the serious neuro-invasive disease caused by this virus.”

The Department of Public Health also advised residents to avoid mosquito-infested areas at dawn and dusk and to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, especially during the early morning and evening hours.

Soruce : https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-25/los-angeles-county-first-human-cases-of-west-nile-virus-this-year

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