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First case of West Nile virus reported in Los Angeles County

July 19, 2012 | 12:23 pm

A San Gabriel Valley resident is the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Los Angeles County this year, health officials reported.

At least four other human cases have been reported in California this year.

The patient in the L.A. County case was hospitalized earlier this month and suffers from other chronic health conditions not related to West Nile virus. The patient is now home and expected to recover, Los Angeles County public health officials said.

West Nile Virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, which get it from birds. About 20% of infected people show symptoms, which can include fever, headache, nausea, body aches and rashes. Less than one in 150 people become severely ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Very rarely do cases end in death.

Last year, Los Angeles County had 63 cases and four deaths related to West Nile virus.

Health officials are urging residents to protect themselves by using a repellent in mosquito-prone areas, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and getting rid of stagnant water around their homes, such as uncleaned swimming pools, flowerpots and birdbaths.

In June, a 70-year-old Kern County woman became the first human case of West Nile in California this year. Other confirmed cases were in Fresno, Merced and Stockton.


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-- Melissa Leu