Healthcare

LA County reports first West Nile death of the year

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed its first West Nile virus death this year. 

"To the family and friends feeling the sorrow of losing this person due to WNV, we send you our deepest sympathies," Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis said in a Friday statement. "West Nile virus can be a serious health threat to people who get infected. People should regularly check for items that can hold water and breed mosquitoes, both inside and outside their homes, and to cover, clean or throw out those items."

"I encourage everyone to protect themselves from diseases spread by mosquitoes by using EPA-registered mosquito repellent products as directed, and wear clothing that covers your arms and legs," Davis added. 

The county has documented 10 West Nile cases so far in 2021, excluding numbers from Long Beach and Pasadena.

Mild symptoms of the virus include fever, muscle aches and tiredness, while severe infections can occur in people with chronic medical conditions such as cancer and diabetes.

More serious symptoms include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Eight in 10 patients experience no symptoms at all. 

Officials encourage Los Angeles residents to take the necessary steps to limit the risk of exposure to the virus such as using insect repellents recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency and wearing long sleeves and pants when outside. 

Additionally, the department recommends caution around areas where stagnant water may exist, such as in buckets, birdbaths and flower pots, as mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. Most mosquitoes do not carry the virus, according to the county health department.

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