West Nile virus confirmed in Long Beach

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West Nile Virus

(AP Photo)

LONG BEACH (CNS) – Long Beach health officials today confirmed the city’s first case of West Nile virus and urged residents to take precautions to avoid infection.

The resident who contracted the virus was briefly hospitalized and is recovering at home. The patient had underlying health problems and lives in the eastern Long Beach area, according to the city.

As of Tuesday, there have been 117 human cases of West Nile virus in California, including 66 in Los Angeles County, according to the city. A 78- year-old Carson resident died from complications of West Nile in July.

Dr. Mitchell Kushner, Long Beach health officer, urged residents to take precautions to avoid contracting the virus, which is transmitted by mosquito bites.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than one in 150 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito become severely sick. But in those rare cases, the virus can cause encephalitis or even death.

Health officials said about 20 percent of people infected with the virus will experience symptoms such as fever, headaches, nausea, swollen lymph glands or a skin rash.

Expert recommend that to avoid the disease, residents should:

– avoid outdoor activities around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active;
— wear long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors;
— apply insect repellents containing active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus;
— keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out; and
— eliminate all sources of standing water around their homes and properly maintain ornamental ponds, pools and spas.

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