Los Angeles County health officials Wednesday confirmed the first death due to West Nile virus in the county this year.
The patient was described only as an "elderly resident'' of the South Los Angeles area. 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.''
Health and vector control officials urged residents to take whatever steps they can to avoid attracting mosquitoes, including:
-- Tip out stagnant water around the home weekly;
-- Toss unused containers that can hold stagnant water; and
-- Protect against bites by using insect repellent containing CDC-recommended Picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
A total of five human cases of the virus have been confirmed so far this year in the county Department of Public Health's coverage area, which excludes Long Beach and Pasadena.
A child who tested positive for West Nile Virus is the first person to be infected this year in Orange County, officials reported Monday.