LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Five people have tested positive for West Nile virus in Los Angeles County, according to the Department of Public Health.

Two adults, who are recovering after being hospitalized, and three others, who were blood donors and never became ill, are the county’s first human cases of 2013.

West Nile virus is passed to humans through an infected mosquito bite. The mosquitoes typically obtain the disease by feeding on infected birds, according to authorities.

There were 174 cases in Los Angeles County in 2012, the second highest number of human cases since 2004.

Symptoms, which officials say only about 20 percent of people infected experience, include fever, headaches, nausea, swollen lymph glands or a skin rash.

Less than one in 150 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito become severely sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To avoid getting the disease, health officials recommend residents avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn, wear long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors, apply insect repellents containing DEET and Picaridin, keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows and eliminate all sources of standing water around homes and property.

(©2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)


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