West Nile Virus Confirmed in Antelope Valley Blood Donor

California's first confirmed human case of West Nile virus in 2009 is a blood donor from the Antelope Valley, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported today.

The person, who was not identified, does not show any symptoms and is feeling well, the department's Sarah Kissell said.

The patient donated blood -- which was not used -- early this month. Health investigators are working to determine where the person may have contracted the virus.

As of Friday, West Nile virus has been detected in Los Angeles County in five dead birds, two mosquito pools and three sentinel chickens, Kissell said.

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

West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes can become infected by biting a bird that carries the virus.

The virus is not spread through person-to-person contact or directly from birds to humans.

"People should take precautions to avoid mosquitoes, as that is the primary way this disease is transmitted," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Los Angeles County's director of public health.

"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 a mosquito-prone areas, especially around dawn or dusk," he said.

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