An elderly man in Long Beach is the first confirmed victim of West Nile virus this year. Long Beach public officials have confirmed the death of the patient, claiming that he died after a long hospitalization and that he had pre-existing conditions.
Further information has been kept confidential.
The city’s health officer, Dr. Mitchell Kushner, said that this is a sad reminder of how severe West Nile virus truly is.
There have been 245 human cases of the West Nile virus in California so far this year, and 12 cases ended fatally. Long Beach on the other hand has reported 4 cases so far.
People are generally infected via mosquito bites, which usually pick up the virus from dead birds and then continue to further spread it to humans and animals. Those infected with the West Nile virus might not show all the symptoms and may only suffer from mild symptoms such as body aches, headaches, nausea, fever, and a mild skin rash. In rare cases (1 in 150 patients) the virus may cause swelling of the brain and paralysis.
Those over 50 are more prone to developing serious complications from the disease.
Even though this year there have been significantly less cases of West Nile virus than in the previous years, Dr. Mitchell Kushner, urges citizens to protect themselves from the virus by taking precautionary action such as:
Avoiding areas infested with mosquitoes, especially at dawn and dusk when they are the most active.
Making sure all windows and door screens are in good condition and can prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
Emptying all standing water around your home to reduce areas where mosquitoes might breed, such as birdbaths, pet bowls, buckets and flower pots.
Using mosquito repellent which contains oil of lemon eucalyptus, Picaridin, DEET, or any other product that contains IR3535.
Limiting your outdoor activity at dusk and dawn.
Reporting dead birds to the California Department of Health.
Swimming pools should be cleaned and chlorinated, and you should drain water from the pool covers.