City Health Officer Announces First Death in Long Beach from West Nile Virus in 2017

Dr. Anissa Davis, Health Officer for the City of Long Beach, announced the first death this year in Long Beach due to complications associated with West Nile virus (WNV). 

As of September 1, 2017, three human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the City of Long Beach. The same number of cases were reported in 2016, with no reported deaths. In California, 87 human cases have been reported to date from 34 counties, a decrease from 123 human cases reported at the same time last year.

“The death of a Long Beach resident due to West Nile virus is a sad and sobering reminder of the risk posed by mosquito bites,” said Dr. Davis. “We need to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and minimize risk of WNV infection, especially at this time of the year when the risk of infection is at its highest.”

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. For most people, the risk of serious illness is low. However, some individuals – less than 1 percent – develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis. People 50 years of age or older and people with diabetes, high blood pressure or other underlying medical conditions have the greatest risk of developing serious complications. The Long Beach Health and Human Services Department is reaching out specifically to this population with targeted outreach efforts to prevent West Nile disease.

To reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus, Dr. Davis is advising residents to take the following precautions:

Avoid mosquito-infested areas especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
Mosquitoes can breed in standing water. Eliminate standing water on your property by dumping or draining water in neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or anything that can hold water. Dumping or draining water will interrupt the mosquito life cycle.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants if you plan to be outdoors at dawn or dusk.
Use mosquito repellant containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Residents should follow instructions on the label. Consult with your child’s pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of 2.
Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes and check to make sure your window screens are in good condition.
Clean and maintain swimming pools and drain water from pool covers.
Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to twice a week to avoid run off to gutters and around sprinklers.
Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Health Services by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD or online at

The Long Beach Health Department continues active surveillance for mosquito populations and works to control mosquito populations in known public breeding locations such as ponds, wetlands and flood channels. Residents can do their part by eliminating standing water in and around their property and reporting breeding sources to the Health Department at the number below.

For further information, contact the Long Beach Health Department, Vector Control Program at (562) 570-4132, at or on Facebook at

Further information about the WNV may be obtained at the California Department of Public Health website at, or at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

About Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services
The mission of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is to improve quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community in which to live, work and play. Long Beach Health is one of only three city-run health departments in California, which allows for better engagement with residents, neighborhoods, businesses and community partners, and fosters a greater understanding of the City’s strengths. For more information, visit us at, “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.