Health officials are warning residents that West Nile Virus season is here, with five human cases found in LA County and more expected. Public parks and standing water are areas where infected mosquitoes could live. Whit Johnson reports from Glendale for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on July 25, 2013.
An elderly man in Northern California is the latest person to have West Nile virus, adding to the six cases reported this week in Los Angeles County and Sacramento, state officials said.
An elderly resident in Glenn County was infected with West Nile, which is carried through mosquitos and can be fatal, said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health.
The person was hospitalized, but is recovering.
The case was a reminder that the public must take precautions against mosquito bites, Chapman said.
"West Nile virus activity is greatest during the summertime," he said.
To date in 2013, West Nile virus has been detected in 31 of the 58 California counties.
Five others were infected across the LA County, including the South Bay and San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said on Thursday.
The two hospitalized patients were a healthy adult with no medical history and an elderly person with chronic health conditions, the department said.
Last year, 174 human cases of the virus were found in LA County, the second-highest count since 2004.
One other human case had been reported in California -- in Sacramento County -- according to state figures.
Mosquitoes get the virus by biting birds that are carrying West Nile Virus. Birds cannot transmit the virus to humans.
Most people infected with the virus do not become sick or have only mild symptoms including fever, headache, nausea, body aches, and a mild skin rash.
Symptoms usually occur within three to 12 days after infection. The elderly and those with weak immune systems are most at risk for developing severe symptoms, the department said.
Dead birds may be reported by calling 877-968-2473 or at the department's website. Stagnant swimming pools or "green pools" should be reported to the Public Health Environmental Health Bureau at 626-430-5200, or by calling a local vector control agency.
More information on West Nile Virus is available at 800-975-4448 or on the state's website.
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