The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed the first cases of human West Nile virus (WNV) infection in Los Angeles County for the 2022 season.
A total of six cases have been identified, most of whom were hospitalized for their illness in late July and early August. The cases reside in the Antelope Valley, San Fernando Valley, and San Gabriel Valley and all are recovering.
“Mosquitos thrive in hot weather and residents should follow simple steps to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquito-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Los Angeles County Health Officer. “Simple measures can reduce mosquitos and mosquito bites, like protecting yourself and your family with insect repellent and removing standing water outside your home. West Nile virus can lead to hospitalization or death, and, by taking preventative steps now, residents can better protect themselves against infection and the serious neuro-invasive disease caused by this virus.”
West Nile virus (WNV) is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms may include fever, headache, nausea, body aches, and a mild skin rash. WNV can affect the brain and spinal cord and result in meningitis, encephalitis, paralysis and even death.
There is no vaccine for WNV and no treatment to cure the illness once an individual becomes sick.
Adults over the age of 50 years and those with chronic health problems are at higher risk of severe illness if infected.
Public Health continues to document human cases of WNV every year in LA County, at an average of 91 cases per year during the last 5 years. However, the total number of people infected with WNV each year in LA County is much higher as most infected persons do not experience any illness or only mild illness. These cases are neither reported nor recognized as WNV. About three-quarters of reported cases have had severe disease and approximately 9% of patients with severe WNV die from complications.
As of August 26, California has reported 26 human WNV cases.
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