LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County health officials today confirmed the county's first death from West Nile virus this year.
The patient, who lived in the South Bay, was hospitalized and died from West Nile-associated neuro-invasive disease, according to the county Department of Public Health.
Health officials said there have been nine documented human cases of West Nile virus this year in Los Angeles County, excluding Pasadena and Long Beach, which have their own health departments and maintain their own records. Mosquitoes, birds and chickens infected with the virus have been found throughout the county.
West Nile is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms from contracting the disease can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea or a skin rash, according to the department. The symptoms can last for several days to months.
Health and vector-control officials urge residents to take steps to mitigate mosquito bites and eliminate habitats, including: -- eliminating standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs or anything that holds water for more than a week; -- ensuring that swimming pools, spas and ponds are properly maintained; -- changing the water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers weekly; -- requesting "mosquitofish" from the local vector control district for placement in ornamental ponds; -- wearing insect repellent when outdoors where mosquitoes may be present; and -- reporting neglected (green) swimming pools to the vector control district.