A child in Orange County has been diagnosed with the West Nile virus and will be the county’s first confirmed human case of the mosquito-borne infection this year, health officials said Monday.
Authorities have not provided any other information about the patient, who is recovering from the virus, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. The diagnosis was confirmed last week.
As of Friday, California had 10 reported human cases of the West Nile virus this year, according to the state Department of Public Health.
Last year, Orange County had seven confirmed human infections, one resulting in death, the health agency said.
Back in June, the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District noted that some areas in the region had experienced an increase in mosquito activity for six consecutive weeks. By then, this year̵
“High levels of mosquitoes are a factor that increases the risk of transmission of West Nile virus (WNV) when virus activity is present,” said Robert Cummings, district manager of Scientific Services at the time.
The following month, Orange County confirmed its first West Nile virus infections of the year in mosquitoes found in three cities.
The bloodthirsty insect can transmit the virus to humans via a bite. While most infected will not experience any system, about 20% will develop fever and other side effects, including
headache, body aches, nausea, fatigue and sometimes rash.
However, in rare cases, the disease can lead to more serious symptoms, such as neck stiffness, confusion, muscle weakness or even paralysis. The disease can be fatal to some.
Increased risk of serious complications from the virus is generally associated with certain medical conditions and in people over the age of 50, according to officials.
“West Nile Virus is endemic in Orange County, recurring each year during the summer months and continuing into the fall,” says Dr. Clayton Chau, the county’s acting health representative, in the publication. “The best way to avoid West Nile virus infection is to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”
These measures include emptying all water-filled containers, including bowls of pet water and birdbaths, weekly to reduce potential nesting sites for mosquitoes. It is also important to make sure that the windows and door screens are in good condition, which prevents the annoying insects from getting indoors.
It is also recommended that people apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin before going out and wearing a repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus oil, officials say. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside can also help prevent bug bites.
More information is available at www.ocvector.org.
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