Mosquitoes can transmit the viruses that cause West Nile fever. Photo by Noah Poritz, courtesy United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service
Mosquitoes can transmit the viruses that cause West Nile fever. Photo by Noah Poritz, courtesy United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service

Long Beach health officials announced on Thursday the city’s first death this year from West Nile virus.

The victim was a man in his mid-70s who lived in eastern Long Beach. He was hospitalized in August.

Officials with the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services said nine human cases have been reported in the city this year, up from seven in all of 2013. One person died from West Nile in the city last year, but prior to that the most recent death had been in 2004.

According to the state, there have been eight deaths from West Nile virus so far this season, but that figure does not include the death of a San Fernando Valley man whose death from the virus was confirmed last week by Los Angeles County health officials.

“The death of a Long Beach resident due to West Nile virus is a sad and sobering reminder of the risk posed by mosquito bites,” said Dr. Mitchell Kushner, Long Beach’s public health officer. “We need to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and minimize risk of WNV infection especially at this time of the year when the risk of infection is at its highest.”

Health officials urged residents to take steps to prevent the spread of the disease. Those measures include emptying all standing water that can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, maintaining secure windows and screens, using insect repellant, limiting outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outside.

Most people who get the infection do not feel symptoms, but about 20 percent can become feverish and feel headaches, body pain, nausea, fatigue and develop a skin rash.

More serious symptoms include severe headaches, neck stiffness, confusion and muscle weakness or paralysis.

&mdash City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.