State Health Dept.: Valencia County man dies from West Nile

State Health Dept.: Valencia County man dies from West Nile

Residents from the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys and East Los Angeles are at heightened risk, vector control agents noted.

Health officials urge residents to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

"Protection from mosquito-borne illnesses, whether it's West Nile, Zika, chikungunya or other diseases, centers around protecting yourself from mosquito bites", said Kathy Barroso, CEO of the Health District.

Price said infected mosquitoes are more likely to breed in dry weather, since they are attracted to stagnant water. In the mid-Atlantic region this year to date, five WNV human cases have been reported in Pennsylvania, one WNV human case each in New Jersey and Virginia, and no human cases in Delaware, New York or Maryland. People with West Nile fever typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for weeks to months. There is no specific treatment for this disease. He said the symptoms and impacts can range from fatal cases to individuals who don't even know they are infected until they go to donate blood.

Most mosquitoes do not carry the virus and most people bitten by a mosquito are not exposed to the virus.

"It is not uncommon for us to identify mosquitoes carrying the virus in our state", Chris Evans, Ph.D. and DHEC's staff entomologist said. More rarely, severe cases can lead to paralysis and death. Zika virus infection can cause a mild illness with symptoms (fever, joint pain, conjunctivitis or rash) lasting for several days to a week, but 80 percent of those infected have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.

OSDH recommends using mosquito repellants, particularly those containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 during outside activities.

Wear light-colored, long sleeves and trousers.

Check your window screens for holes.

All tires must be off the rim, drained of water, unburned and not excessively dirty. Free mosquito fish placement can be requested through the SCCvcd for neglected pools or ornamental ponds.

To report standing water or other mosquito breeding sites, call 3-1-1.

Empty and wash birdbaths and wading pools weekly. But DPHHS director Richard Opper says in light of this death, it's a good reminder to take the virus seriously and take necessary precautions against mosquitos.

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