City Confirms First Human Case of West Nile Virus in Long Beach for 2016; Urges Residents to Take Precautions

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The first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) this year in Long Beach has been confirmed. As of August 26, 2016, 78 human cases have been reported from 17 California counties, including Los Angeles (24), San Diego (4), and Orange (1). There have been two WNV-related deaths this year in California.

WNV is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of WNV may include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headaches. Most people infected have no symptoms; approximately one in 150 may develop a more serious disease, such as brain inflammation or paralysis. Persons with these symptoms should seek immediate care. People 50 years of age and older and individuals with diabetes or hypertension have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop complications.

Summer weather and drought conditions create an ideal environment for mosquito breeding. Dr. Mauro Torno, Acting City Health Officer, encourages all residents to protect themselves from WNV by taking the following precautions:

  • Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Eliminate standing water on your property by dumping or draining water in neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or anything that can hold water. Dumping or draining water interrupts the mosquito life cycle.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants if you plan to be outdoors at dawn or dusk.
  • Use mosquito repellant containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, and follow instructions on the label. Consult a pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of two.
  • Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes, and check to make sure window screens are in good condition.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, and drain water from pool covers.
  • Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants, to avoid run off to gutters and around sprinklers.
  • Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Public Health by calling 1-877-WNV-Bird (1-877-968-2473) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.

The Long Beach Health Department continues active surveillance for mosquito populations and works to control mosquito populations in known public breeding locations such as ponds, wetlands and flood channels. Residents can do their part by eliminating standing water in and around their property and reporting breeding sources, such as “green pools,” to the Health Department at the number below.

For further information, contact the City of Long Beach Health Department, Vector Control Program, at 562.570.4132 or online at www.longbeach.gov/health and click on “West Nile Virus.” Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lbdhhs.

Additional information about WNV may also be obtained at www.westnile.ca.gov, or at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile.

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