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    Confirmed: First LB Human West Nile Virus Case

    (August 5, 2004, updated post) -- LB's first human case of the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus has been confirmed.

    LB's Dept. of Health and Human Services received confirmation late in the evening of August 4 of the WNV positive results said LB Health Officer, Dr. Darryl Sexton.

    [update] In a written release, the City of LB said "an elderly Long Beach resident has been infected with the West Nile Virus (WNV)...The patient is under medical care and remains hospitalized. This is the first known human case of WNV infection identified in Long Beach since evidence of the virus appeared in 2003 with dead birds, which tested positive for the virus. No human fatalities due to WNV have been reported to date in the City of Long Beach. [end update]

    The test results are being communicated to the patient's doctor this morning, Dr. Sexton said.

    It is LB's first human West Nile Virus case...and could be the 20th human case in L.A. County (depending on which agency tally one uses) in the escalating spread of the virus. One case, a WNV-related death, has been reported from Orange County, and there are numerous human cases in San Bernardino County...with one reported death.

    West Nile Virus produces no symptoms in roughly 80% of those bitten by infected mosquitoes, but causes flu-like symptoms in about 20%. It can also lead to encephalitis (brain swelling) or meningitis in about 1 in 150 people bitten by WNV infected mosquitoes. As previously reported by, infected mosquitoes have been identified in several LB and Lakewood locations.

    There is no cure for West Nile Virus, only supportive therapies, which include hospitalization in serious cases.

    [further update] In a written release, LB's Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) says:

    Since infected mosquitoes spread WNV, local residents can significantly assist assistance in reducing local risk of virus exposure by eliminating standing water on their private property to prevent breeding of mosquitoes. WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected with WNV when they feed on infected birds. As temperatures rise, mosquito populations are expected to increase. With this increase in the mosquito population, chances for WNV transmission will become higher.

    The DHHS Vector Control Program controls mosquito breeding on a regular basis in public areas. However, the DHHS needs the assistance of local residents to keep mosquito breeding to a minimum on private property. Residents are requested to take the following precautions to protect themselves and control mosquito breeding:

    • Remove pools of standing or stagnant water, which provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Debris piles, buckets, barrels, kidís toys, and tire swings are some common sources of stagnant water. Mosquitoes need water to complete their life cycle, therefore they are most active around stagnant water;
    • Clear gutters and drains of standing water;
    • Change water in birdbaths frequently;
    • Properly maintain clean swimming pools and spas with proper filtration and chlorination levels;
    • Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to twice a week to avoid run off to gutters and around sprinklers;
    • Limit your time outdoors when you notice mosquito activity (primarily at dusk and dawn). If you remain outdoors while mosquitoes are biting, wear clothing that provides more coverage of your skin (such as long sleeved shirts and pants);
    • Use mosquito repellents containing DEET. Residents should follow instructions on the label. Consult with your childís pediatrician for appropriate concentrations to be used on children under the age of two.
    • Make sure that doors and windows have tight fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.

    Businesses are also urged to check their property weekly and eliminate any standing or stagnant water and to maintain swimming pools to summertime conditions. Green or dirty pools can breed thousands of mosquitoes in a weekís time, unnecessarily increasing the populationís risk of contracting WNV.

    See also this additional WNV development: First on Aerial Spraying Against Mosquito-Borne West Nile Virus Could Result In Hardest Hit CA Areas

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