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2 new West Nile virus cases confirmed in L.A. County

August 8, 2011 |  2:04 pm

Mosquitoes are potential carriers of deadly West Nile virus
Two new cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in Los Angeles County and officials are warning of an active season for mosquitoes that might carry the infection.

The two victims, middle-aged men with preexisting conditions, were hospitalized and are recovering, Los Angeles County health officials said. Their identities and other identifying information were being withheld.

The California Department of Public Health reported the first human case of West Nile virus infection on July 22, a Santa Barbara man who was also hospitalized before recovering at home.

West Nile is spread by mosquitoes from infected birds to humans. Most mosquitoes are not carriers, and most people exposed do not get sick or suffer only mild symptoms, including nausea, fever and a mild skin rash. In rare cases the virus can lead to encephalitis and death.

After finding 45 dead birds and 115 mosquito samples with West Nile, the highest levels in three years, officials are warning residents to take precautions, including clearing stagnant water and using insect repellent.

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Photo: In this file photo, en ecologist with the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District collects live mosquitoes to see if they are infected with the West Nile Virus. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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