(Oct. 2, 2004) -- As of October 1, LB's Dept. of Health & Human Services reports that LB has had 13 confirmed human cases of the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus (WNV) in 2004...an increase of three cases from the previous week and nearly double the seven cases LB had on September 1. LB's total includes one death, an elderly ELB woman on Aug. 9.
Statewide, as of October 1, 654 cases have been confirmed with 18 deaths...including a 66-year-old L.A. County woman (location not disclosed by state health agency).
69 of the statewide WNV cases were first detected in asymptomatic individuals through screening blood banks; nine later became symptomatic. Of the 594 WNV cases with symptoms, 221 are West Nile fever, 191 are West Nile neuroinvasive disease (encephalitis or meningitis) and 182 are of unknown status.
As of October 1, L.A. County has had at least 260 cases to Oct. 1 (246 reported in L.A. County Health Dept. area; 13 in LB (has its own separate health dept.) + at least 1 in Pasadena (reported Aug. 6, separate health dept.)
"Although mosquito season is starting to slow down a little with the arrival of cooler
weather, we continue to encourage the public to take steps to prevent mosquito bites
and West Nile virus," said State Public Health Officer Dr. Richard Joseph in a written release. He added, "Although people over 50 are in the highest risk category for developing symptoms of West Nile virus, it is important that everyone take the proper protective measures to avoid mosquito bites."
Dr. Jackson cautioned, "We all enjoy the mild weather this time of year, but have to remember that mosquitoes are enjoying it, too. In fact, West Nile virus was found in dead birds in December last year in Southern California."
WNV produces no clinical symptoms in roughly 80% of people bitten by infected mosquitoes, but causes flu-like symptoms in about 20%. It can lead to encephalitis (brain swelling) or meningitis in about 1 in 150 people bitten by WNV infected mosquitoes. There is no cure, only supportive therapies which include hospitalization in serious cases.