The first West Nile Virus (WNV) case reported this season in Long Beach, an elderly male, succumbed to the disease after a long hospitalization.
“This is a sad reminder of how severe West Nile Virus can be,” said Dr. Mitchell Kushner, City Health Officer. “We strongly encourage residents to protect themselves and family members from mosquitoes.”
While overall cases have been significantly lower this year in Long Beach than in previous seasons, residents still need to continue prevention efforts and follow precautions to avoid mosquito bites and minimize the risk of WNV infection. WNV season is still active with continued heat and mosquito breeding despite ongoing preventive efforts that have been in place since March 2015.
Long Beach has reported four cases to date in 2015. Countywide, there have been four additional WNV-related deaths this year as of October 2, 2015. Statewide, 245 cases have been reported, including 12 fatalities.
To reduce the risk of exposure to the virus, Dr. Kushner advises residents to take the following precautions:
• Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
• Mosquitoes can breed in standing water. Eliminate standing water on your property by draining water in neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or anything that can hold water.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants if you plan to be outdoors at dawn or dusk.
• Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Residents should follow instructions on the label. Consult with your child's pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of two years.
• Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes and check to make sure your window screens are in good condition.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and drain water from pool covers.
• Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to Tuesdays and Saturdays, and avoid run off to gutters and around sprinklers.
• Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Health Services by calling 1-877-WNV-Bird or online at www.westnile.ca.gov
The Long Beach Health Department will continue with active surveillance of mosquito populations and work closely with the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District to educate residents and reduce mosquito populations in Long Beach.
For further information, contact the City of Long Beach Health Department, Vector Control Program at 562.570.4132 or at www.longbeach.gov/health
Further information about WNV may be obtained from the State of California Department of Health Services website at www.westnile.ca.gov
, or from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile