The first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) this mosquito season has been reported in Long Beach this week. The patient was diagnosed with neuroinvasive illness and is currently hospitalized.
WNV is transmitted through the bite of an infected Culex mosquito. Signs and symptoms of WNV may include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache. Most infected people have no symptoms; however, approximately one in 150 may develop a more serious disease, such as brain inflammation or paralysis. Persons with these symptoms should seek immediate care.
Long Beach health officials are advising residents to take the following precautions:
- Prevent mosquito bites by applying insect repellent with EPA-registered active ingredients DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus before you go outside.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants if spending time outside during dawn and dusk. WNV-carrying mosquitoes are most active during those times.
- Install or repair door and window screens.
- Dump and drain standing water around your home.
- Report mosquitoes and learn more about mosquito prevention by visiting http://longbeach.gov/health/inspections-and-reporting/reporting/mosquitoes/ or calling (562) 570-4132.
- Report dead birds online at http://www.westnile.ca.gov/.
The Long Beach Vector Control Program, along with partner agencies Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District and Compton Creek Mosquito Abatement District, continue to treat areas with high populations of mosquitoes throughout the city every day. However, the public also plays a critical role by stopping mosquitoes from breeding in and around their homes and reporting mosquito breeding in neighborhoods and other public areas. Cooperation between residents and agencies can keep mosquito populations under control and reduce the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses.
While Long Beach has seen mild WNV activity in the past two years compared to prior years, residents are reminded that WNV remains a serious health threat locally. Residents are encouraged to protect themselves against mosquito bites. The low case count in Long Beach corresponds with a mild WNV season in California, with 128 human cases, including three deaths, reported statewide compared to a five-year average of 304 cases by this time of year.
For more information on West Nile virus, visit www.longbeach.gov/wnv.