An Orange County child has been diagnosed with West Nile virus, becoming the county’s first confirmed case of a mosquito-borne disease this year, health officials announced on Monday.
Authorities have not released any other information about the patient, who is recovering from a viral hospitalization, according to the Orange County Health Care Authority. Diagnosis was confirmed last week.
As of Friday, California had 10 West Nile human infections reported this year, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.
Last year, Orange County had seven confirmed human infections, one fatal, the health care agency said.
Back in June, the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District noted that some areas in the area experienced an increase in mosquito activity for six consecutive weeks. At that time, this year̵7;s mosquito count was almost five times higher than the previous year and twice the county’s 5-year average.
Robert Cummings, director of the county’s Science Services, explained at the time: “The large number of mosquitoes is a factor that increases the risk of West Nile (WNV) transmission when the virus is active.”
The following month, Orange County confirmed the first case of West Nile virus infection of the year in mosquitoes found in three cities.
Bloodthirsty insects can transmit the virus to humans through the bite. Although most infected people will not experience any systems, about 20% will experience fever and other side effects, including
headache, body aches, nausea, fatigue and sometimes a skin rash.
But in rare cases, the disease can lead to more serious symptoms, such as stiff neck, confusion, muscle weakness, or even paralysis. This disease can be fatal for some people.
According to officials, the risk of serious complications caused by the virus is often associated with certain medical conditions and in people over the age of 50, according to officials.
Dr. Clayton Chau, county health officer, said in this statement: “The West Nile virus is endemic to Orange County, recurring annually during the summer months and continuing in the fall. “The best way to avoid infection with West Nile Virus is to take preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites.”
Such measures include emptying water-filled containers, including pet water bowls and bird baths, weekly to reduce potential mosquito breeding spaces. It is also important to ensure that windows and door screens are in good condition, preventing pests from entering the home.
Officials also recommend that people apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin before going out and wear mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus oil. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when going outside can also help prevent bug bites.
More information can be found by visiting www.ocvector.org.