Health officials warn of West Nile virus season in Los Angeles

April 28, 2009 11:47 pm 

LOS ANGELES, April 28 — Health officials warned on Monday that 2009 was expected to have an active West Nile virus season in the Los Angeles area.

The warning came after a mosquito collected in Los Angeles tested positive for the West Nile virus, the first to be confirmed with the virus in the area this year.

Although it was the first mosquito to test positive in Los Angeles, eight others have tested positive statewide, according to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

The agency advised that residents eliminate standing water on their properties where mosquitoes can breed, stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active, and use insect repellents to prevent bites.

The increase in home foreclosures also has prompted concern because neglected swimming pools can become mosquito breeding grounds.

Last year, there were 445 human cases of the virus in California, and 15 people died.

The virus is mostly transmitted through mosquito bites. Statistically, a person's risk of contracting West Nile is low, and less than one percent of those infected develop serious illness from the virus. Those at highest risk for serious illness are the elderly and those with lowered immune systems. However, people of all ages can develop serious illness. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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