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First Human Case of West Nile Infection Is Confirmed in North OC

A man from Buena Park has been hospitalized with county's first confirmed case of the virus this year. Infected mosquitoes have been found around Los Alamitos.

Orange County’s first known human case of the West Nile Virus for this year was confirmed today in Buena Park.

Tests of mosquitos and birds, have found that Northwest Orange County cities such as Los Alamitos and neighboring cities in Los Angeles County are a hotbed for the virus in mosquito pools. Health and vector control officials are warning residents in the area to take precautions against mosquitos, which spread the sometimes fatal virus to humans, birds and horses.

The Buena Park man is in his 50s and was admitted to a hospital in mid-August and remains hospitalized, according to the county. He is the 19th person in the state to be diagnosed with West Nile virus this year, including 10 LA County cases. So far this year, there have been 77 cases nationally. Last year, Orange County had only one confirmed human case of West Nile virus.

``Although West Nile virus activity has been low in Orange County over
the last two years, it is important to recognize that West Nile virus is
endemic in Orange County, recurring every year during the summer months and continuing into the fall,'' said Dr. Eric G. Handler, county health officer.

``The best way to avoid West Nile virus infection is to take precautionary measures to avoid mosquito bites.''

Most people infected with the virus don’t experience any symptoms, according to the Center for Disease Control. Twenty percent of those infected will experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache and vomiting. And one in 150 people experience severe effects such as high fever, coma or paralysis. Three people have died of West Nile virus this year -- one each in Florida, Mississippi and Texas, according to the state.

The Center for Disease Control offers these tips to protect yourself from mosquito bites:

  • When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flowerpots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in birdbaths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.

City News Service Contributed to this report.

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