First Death in Long Beach from West Nile Virus
2013-11-19 · By Editor
Dr. Mitchell Kushner, Public Health Officer for the City of Long Beach, announced today the first death in Long Beach due to complications associated with West Nile Virus (WNV). The resident who was in his mid-70s and lived in east Long Beach was hospitalized in October.
This is the first WNV death of a Long Beach resident since 2004. Long Beach has reported six human cases to date in 2013. There have been eight WNV-related fatalities in Los Angeles County this year. Statewide, there have been 349 human cases reported, including 13 fatalities, as of November 12, 2013.
“The death of a Long Beach resident due to West Nile virus is a sad and sobering reminder of the risk posed by mosquito bites,” Dr. Kushner said. “Even though summer is over and West Nile Virus season is winding down, warm weather can continue and mosquitoes can still be active. We should still take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and minimize the risk of WNV infection.”
To reduce the risk of exposure to the virus, Dr. Kushner is advising residents to take 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 will interrupt 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. Residents should follow instructions on the label. Consult with your child’s pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of 2.
- Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes and check to make sure your 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 twice a week to avoid run off to gutters and around sprinklers.
- Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Health Services by calling 1-877-WNV-Bird or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
The Long Beach Health Department will continue with active surveillance of mosquito populations and work closely with the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District to educate residents and reduce mosquito populations in Long Beach.
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/wnv_info/resource.asp Join us on Facebook, found on the Links and Resources section of the website.
Further information about WNV may be obtained from the State of California Department of Health Services website at www.westnile.ca.gov, or from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile.