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SANTA ANA (CBS) — Orange County health officials say the first human case of West Nile virus has been found there this year.
An unidentified 20-something Anaheim man tested positive after donating blood.
Health officials said donated blood is routinely screened for West Nile.
“Although West Nile virus activity in Orange County has been quite low over the last few years, it is important to recognize that West Nile virus is endemic in Orange County, recurring every year during the summer months and continuing into the fall,” said Dr. Eric Handler, county health officer.
“The best way to avoid West Nile virus infection is to take precautionary measures to avoid mosquito bites,” he said.
West Nile virus is passed to human beings through the bite of an infected mosquito, which typically obtains the disease by feeding on infected birds.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than one in 150 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito become severely sick.
But in those rare cases, the virus can cause encephalitis or even death.
County officials said about 20 percent of people infected with the virus will experience symptoms such as fever, headaches, nausea, swollen lymph glands or a skin rash.
Health officials recommend that to avoid the disease, residents should:
• avoid outdoor activities around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
• wear long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors
• apply insect repellents containing active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus
• keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out
• eliminate all sources of standing water around their homes and properly maintain ornamental ponds, pools and spas.
Information on mosquito control is available from the Orange County Vector Control District website, http://www.ocvcd.org.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)