Teen Confirmed as First in LA County to Contract West Nile

The Antelope Valley has shown the most West Nile activity to date, according to public health officials

symptoms of the disease this year, but

An Antelope Valley teenager was confirmed Friday as the first person in Los Angeles County to contract West Nile virus and develop symptoms of the disease this year, but the teen has already recovered.

Officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said two other people in the county who donated blood tested positive for the virus earlier this year but never developed any symptoms. Their donated blood was not used.

The Antelope Valley teen who developed symptoms had pre-existing medical conditions and developed symptoms of West Nile virus in mid-July, health officials said.

“People should take precautions to avoid mosquitoes, as that is the primary way this disease is transmitted,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's public health officer. “Mosquitoes obtain the virus by feeding on infected wild birds.

“West Nile virus can appear anywhere in Los Angeles County or around the state, and we urge residents to get rid of pools of stagnant water around their homes where mosquitoes breed, and to use a repellant containing DEET or another approved repellent when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, especially around dawn or dusk,” Fielding said.

As of Wednesday, West Nile virus has been detected in 38 dead birds, six mosquito pools and 10 sentinel chickens in the county. The Antelope Valley has shown the most West Nile activity to date, according to public health officials.

In past seasons, most infected birds and mosquitoes have been found in the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and East Los Angeles County areas.

According to public health officials, fewer than 150 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito become severely ill. In those rare cases, patients can develop encephalitis or die. The elderly are most at risk for severe cases of the disease.

Mild cases of the disease are characterized by symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, body aches or a mild skin rash.
 

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