LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Public health officials in Long Beach are urging residents to take precautions against contracting West Nile virus after an infection was reported in the city.
The resident, whose name has not been released, was recently hospitalized for a brief period and is recovering at home, reports City News Service.
State officials have reported 117 human cases of the mosquito-borne disease in California this year, including at least 54 in Los Angeles County.
A 78-year-old Carson resident died from complications of West Nile in July.
According to the Long Beach Department of Health & Human Services, less than one percent (about 1 in 150 people) of individuals infected with WNV will develop severe illness.
Severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis, which can last several weeks, as well as potentially permanent neurological effects.
Up to 20 percent (about 1 in 5) of the people who become infected will display milder symptoms, including fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back, which generally last a few days.
Approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms.
Officials urge residents to protect themselves and their families from the virus by taking the following precautions:
- Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Mosquitoes can 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 at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use mosquito repellant containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Residents should follow repellant instructions on the label. Consult with your child's 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 your window screens are in good condition.
- Maintain all swimming pools in a clean and sanitary manner, with all circulation and filtration equipment operational and chemical levels within recommended guidelines; 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. Do not over water plants or lawns to avoid creating pools of standing water.
- Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Health Services by calling 1-877-WNV-Bird or online.
For further information, contact the City of Long Beach DHHS, Vector Control Program at (562) 570-4132 or online.
Additional information about WNV may be obtained at the State of California Department of Health Services website or at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
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