LA County confirms first human West Nile virus cases of year

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

The LA County Department of Public Health said in a release that six cases have been confirmed in the Antelope, San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys, with the majority of patients hospitalized for the disease in late July and early August. . All the patients are recovering.

LA County does not report cases to Long Beach or Pasadena, which operate their own public health agencies; As of Thursday, no city has publicly reported any confirmed cases.

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

Last year, the county reported 17 West Nile cases, 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 over the past five years, although the true number of cases is likely higher because most people who are infected experience mild or no illness, so their cases go unreported.

According to LA County public health officials, three-quarters of reported cases involve serious illness, and about 10% of people with serious illness 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 LA County, and health officials are urging the public to take measures to protect themselves, especially adults age 50 and older and those with chronic health conditions. People who are susceptible to serious illness.

“Simple measures can reduce mosquito bites and mosquito bites, such as 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 preventive steps now, residents can better protect themselves against infection and the serious neuro-invasive disease caused by this virus.”

The Department of Public Health advised residents to avoid mosquito-infested areas in the morning and evening, and to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, especially in the morning and evening.

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