A child who tested positive for West Nile Virus is the first person to be infected this year in Orange County, officials reported Monday.
The child, whose age and identity are protected, was diagnosed sometime last week and was hospitalized but is expected to recover, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. This was the first time this year a person in the county has been infected.
The state has reported 10 people infected statewide so far in 2020.
County officials said a total of seven people contracted West Nile in the area last year.
One in five individuals infected with West Nile, for which there is no cure, will exhibit symptoms that include fever, headache, body aches, nausea or skin rash. The symptoms can last for several days to months.
One in 150 people infected with the virus will require hospitalization. Severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma, paralysis and possibly death. Those at greatest risk include seniors and individuals with compromised immune systems.
People older than 50 and who have underlying medical conditions are at a heightened risk.
“The best way to avoid West Nile Virus infection is to take precautionary measures to avoid mosquito bites,” said Dr. Clayton Chau, the director of the Orange County Health Care Agency and interim chief health officer for the county.
To curb the spread of West Nile Virus, experts say it’s critical to remove typical breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry the disease. People should clean out standing water sources around the house, including pet bowls and flower pots. Stagnant swimming pools should be reported to authorities.
People also can protect against bites by making sure window screens can keep bugs out and by insect repellant containing CDC-recommended Picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
Mosquito season in Southern California generally spans May to October.
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