Orange County Reports West Nile Virus Related Death
(Santa Ana, CA) – The first human death associated with West Nile virus (WNV) infection in Orange County has been confirmed by Orange County Health Care Agency officials. The La Habra resident in her 60s died with WNV infection complications.
“This unfortunate death shows how serious West Nile virus infection can be,” said Dr. Eric Handler, County Health Officer. “It is important for people to remember that the end of summer does not mean the end of West Nile virus season.”
Orange County has had 29 symptomatic WNV infections reported this year. Twenty-five had WNV Neuroinvasive disease and four had WNV fever; of these, 28 were hospitalized. Because about 80% of people infected with WNV have no symptoms, and the majority of cases of West Nile fever do not seek medical care and are not tested, the reported case counts greatly underestimate the number of infected people in our County.
Symptoms of West Nile fever include fever, headache, body aches and fatigue. Swollen lymph glands or a skin rash can also occur. Anyone who develops the more serious symptoms of West Nile Neuroinvasive disease such as severe headaches, neck stiffness, confusion, muscle weakness or vision loss should seek medical care immediately. People over 50 years of age and those with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk of serious complications from West Nile virus infection.
It is especially important to take precautions against mosquito bites during West Nile virus season. Recommended precautions include:
- Emptying all standing water on your property to reduce areas in which mosquitoes may breed, including flower pots and pet bowls
- Making sure your window and door screens are in good condition
- Using insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or products containing IR3535, always following label directions
- Limiting outdoor activity at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors
Information on mosquito control is available on the Orange County Vector Control District’s website at www.ocvcd.org. Updated information about West Nile virus infections in Orange County can be found at www.ochealthinfo.com/westnilevirus.
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