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South L.A. resident dies from West Nile virus, first L.A. County victim this year

A mosquito is held by a pair of tweezers.
Mosquitoes are trapped by Los Angeles County Vector Control officers, categorized and shipped to a lab at UC Davis to be tested for West Nile virus.
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County health officials on Wednesday confirmed the first death linked to West Nile virus in the county this year.

The patient was described only as an “elderly resident” of South Los Angeles. The person was hospitalized and died from West Nile virus-associated neuro-invasive disease.

“West Nile virus continues to be a serious health threat to residents in Los Angeles County,” county Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said in a statement.

“We encourage residents to check for items that can hold water and breed mosquitoes, both inside and outside their homes, and to cover, clean or clear out those items. Residents should protect themselves from diseases spread by mosquitoes by using EPA-registered mosquito repellent products, especially during the peak mosquito season, which lasts from June to November in Los Angeles County.”

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Health and vector control officials urged residents to take steps to avoid attracting mosquitoes, including:

  • Tipping out stagnant water around homes weekly;
  • Tossing unused containers that can hold stagnant water; and
  • Protecting against bites by using insect repellent containing CDC-recommended Picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.

Five human cases of the virus have been confirmed this year in the L.A. County Department of Public Health’s coverage area, which excludes Long Beach and Pasadena.

Last year, there were 29 cases of West Nile virus in the county and three deaths.

A child who tested positive for West Nile virus in Orange County is the first person to be infected there this year, officials reported Monday.


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