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    News in Depth

  • First '04 Human West Nile Virus Cases In L.A. & Riverside Counties, One Becomes Meningitis
  • No LB WNV Dead Crows or Mosquitoes Reported In Past Week
  • Cerritos, Whittier, Fullerton Had Multiple WNV Dead Crows

    (June 25, 2004) -- L.A. County now has its first human case of the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus (WNV)...and so does Riverside County, in which a 26-year old man developed meningitis.

    The news comes as the number of dead crows -- a forerunner of the disease appearing in humans -- continues to mount in eastern L.A. County cities, including Whittier (8 in one week), Cerritos (3) and Downey (3) and adjacent OC areas with multiple reports in Fullerton and Buena Park.

    Purple X's indicate WNV-infected dead birds (usually crows) with the most recent test date of 6/19/04 (further data below)

    WNV Map 6/25

    We zoom in for a tigher view below:

    WNV map, 6/25

    The CA Dept. of Health reports a 71 year old L.A. County man (specific location not released) experienced fever and muscle weakeness, while a 26 year old Riverside County man developed meningitis and had to be hospitalized.

    8 other human cases have previously been identified in San Bernardino County...bringing the 2004 total human cases of the sometimes serious and occasionally fatal disease to 10 thus far.

    No LB WNV-infected dead birds were reported within the latest seven day reporting period from within LB areas...either the ELB region covered by the Greater L.A. County Vector Control District (areas mainly east of Lakewood Blvd. and north of PCH) or in the rest of LB (based on data on the CA Dept. of Health WNV web site).

    As first reported last week by, a dead crow infected with WNV was recovered in ELB June 7 on Rutgers Ave. between Wardlow Rd. and Spring St. and between Bellflower Blvd. and Clark Ave. has received email from readers, reporting inconsistent and sometimes unhelpful responses when reporting dead birds to 1-877-WNVBIRD. Other readers say they received good responses. We are looking into these reports.

    No WNV positive mosquitoes have been identified in LB to date in 2004. A previous map indicating otherwise on the CA Dept. of Health's WNV web site has been withdrawn.

    In a reporting period ending June 25, a number of WNV infected dead birds were identified in eastern L.A. County cities within the area of the Greater L.A. County Vector Control District. Data below:

    2004 numberSpeciesRecovery dateCityCountyTest date
    109 American Crow 5/27/04 Pico Rivera Los Angeles 6/25/04
    110 American Crow 6/8/04 La Mirada Los Angeles 6/25/04
    111 American Crow 6/8/04 Santa Fe Springs Los Angeles 6/25/04
    112 American Crow 6/8/04 Whittier Los Angeles 6/25/04
    113 American Crow 6/8/04 Whittier Los Angeles 6/25/04
    114 American Crow 6/8/04 Whittier Los Angeles 6/25/04
    115 American Crow 6/8/04 Whittier Los Angeles 6/25/04
    116 American Crow 6/9/04 Whittier Los Angeles 6/25/04
    117 American Crow 6/9/04 Whittier Los Angeles 6/25/04
    118 American Crow 6/9/04 Artesia Los Angeles 6/25/04
    119 American Crow 6/9/04 Downey Los Angeles 6/25/04
    120 American Crow 6/9/04 Hacienda Heights Los Angeles 6/25/04
    121 American Crow 6/9/04 Los Angeles Los Angeles 6/25/04
    121 American Crow 6/9/04 North Hills Los Angeles 6/25/04
    122 American Crow 6/9/04 Northridge Los Angeles 6/25/04
    123 American Crow 6/9/04 Norwalk Los Angeles 6/25/04
    124 American Crow 6/9/04 Pico Rivera Los Angeles 6/25/04
    125 American Crow 6/10/04 Whittier Los Angeles 6/25/04
    126 American Crow 6/14/04 Cerritos Los Angeles 6/25/04
    127 American Crow 6/14/04 Cerritos Los Angeles 6/25/04
    128 American Crow 6/14/04 Cerritos Los Angeles 6/25/04
    129 American Crow 6/14/04 Northridge Los Angeles 6/25/04
    130 American Crow 6/14/04 Panorama City Los Angeles 6/25/04
    131 American Crow 6/14/04 Whittier Los Angeles 6/25/04
    132 American Crow 6/15/04 Downey Los Angeles 6/25/04
    133 American Crow 6/15/04 Gardena Los Angeles 6/25/04
    134 American Crow 6/15/04 Rowland Heights Los Angeles 6/25/04
    135 American Crow 6/17/04 Downey Los Angeles 6/25/04

    Cities with West Nile Virus Positive Birds
      City Number of Birds
    1 Whittier 31
    2 La Mirada 17
    3 Cerritos 16
    4 Downey 15
    5 Pico Rivera 11
    6 Santa Fe Springs 9
    7 Hacienda Heights 8
    8 Norwalk 5
    9 North Hills 4
    10 Northridge 3
    11 South El Monte 3
    12 Montebello 2
    13 Gardena 2
    14 Lakewood 1
    15 Bell Gardens 1
    16 Reseda 1
    17 Harbor City 1
    18 Long Beach 1
    19 San Marino 1
    20 Artesia 1
    21 Los Angeles 1
    22 Panorama City 1
    23 Rowland Heights 1
      Total 136

    The CA Arbovirus Surveillance web site (linked on also reports multiple WNV-infected dead crows in nearby Orange County for the period ending June 19 in Fullerton (8), Buena Park (4) and La Palma (3).

    "These first West Nile Virus cases in Los Angeles and Riverside counties follow a well-established pattern in which dead birds and mosquitoes infected with the virus preceded the reports of human illnesses," said Dr. Richard Joseph Jackson, CA's public health officer, in a written release. "We expect West Nile virus to continue to spread throughout the state and urge residents to take steps now to protect themselves from mosquito bites," he added.

    The CA Dept. of Health Services release says the first L.A. County WNV patient "sought medical care after experiencing fever and muscle weakness this month. He was not hospitalized and his condition is reportedly improving. A Riverside County man, 26 years old, was hospitalized with meningitis this month and later discharged in good condition."

    The agency says WNV has been found in birds or mosquitoes in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties this year. Health officials say the risk of serious illness to humans is low, with most individuals infected not experiencing any illness. However about 10%-15% of those infected will show symptoms including fever, headache and body aches...and less than 1% will develop serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis and meningitis. The elderly and those with lowered immune systems are more susceptible to serious illness.

    The agency releae added, "In recognition of the public health threat posed by WNV, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger included $977,000 in state funds in the May revision of the proposed state budget to boost California's efforts to control the spread of WNV. The funds would be used to expand surveillance activities to enhance detection of the virus and prompt control efforts."

    WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite...and mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. The CA Dept. of Health Services says:

    Individuals can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by taking these precautions:

    • Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and the first two hours after sunset.
    • When outdoors, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
    • Apply insect repellant containing DEET according to label instructions.
    • Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
    • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding.
    • Contact your local mosquito and vector control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.

    The CA Dept. of Health asks the public to report any crows, ravens, magpies and jays that have been dead for less than 48 hours to CDHS' toll-free hotline: 1-877-WNV-BIRD.

    "Individuals should take note of the bird's location and condition before calling for further instructions, including assistance with identifying the type of bird found. The bird should show no signs of decomposition or maggot infestation. While there is no evidence that people can get WNV from handling live or dead infected birds, individuals should not attempt to catch or handle them. If the local agency is unable to pick up the bird, individuals should use gloves, a shovel or newspaper to put it in a plastic bag and place it in the trash," the releae said.

    Through June 25, 2004, WNV has been found in 593 dead birds, including 255 in San Bernardino County, 243 in L.A. County, 74 in Riverside County, 20 in OC and one in Ventura County.

    In addition, the virus has been detected in 76 "pools" of mosquitoes collected in Imperial, L.A., Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties and 32 sentinel chickens in Imperial, L.A. and Riverside counties.

    Recent coverage:

  • LBUSD Administrators Alerted to West Nile Virus Prevention Tips

  • Dead Crows, Possibly West Nile Virus Infected, Increasingly Visible in Cerritos

  • West Nile Virus Warning Signs Posted @ Lakewood Golf Course & Bolivar Park in Lakewood

  • Ground Zero For West Nile Virus: See Maps Showing WNV Totals & Recent WNV-Infected Dead Birds

  • It's Here: Dead Crow w/ West Nile Virus ID'd in LB; Residents Again Urged to Take Precautions

  • ELB Email to Cites Add'l Standing Water

  • More WNV Infected Crows in Cerritos...And First CA 04 Human Case in San B'dino County

  • West Nile Virus Expert Says We're In Midst Of Largest Mosquito-Borne Virus Outbreak in North American History & Biggest West Nile Virus Outbreak Ever Documented in the World

  • Editorial: Biting Back: Our Suggestions Re WNV in LB

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