SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A Cypress woman who tested positive for West Nile virus is the first Orange County patient this year, county health officials said Tuesday.
The unidentified woman is the 15th person in California to fall victim to the virus in 2013, according to officials.
KNX 1070′s Ed Mertz reports while the woman is at home recovering, health officials are expected to step up their efforts to warn Southern Californians of the growing threat.
Officials from the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District are expected to go door-to-door to alert residents in the South Bay cities of Wilmington and Harbor City of “more activity earlier in the year this year,” according to Vector Control spokeswoman Truc Dever.
The campaign will target high-risk neighborhoods based on mosquito and sentinel chicken surveillance data. Staff members will be providing residents with instructive brochures and offering to conduct yard inspections for mosquito breeding sources.
Bilingual Spanish/English door hangers will be left at homes where in-person contact cannot be made.
The West Nile virus has already claimed the life of a 79-year-old Carson man, whose death was reported last week. At least 12 other people have been infected in Los Angeles County.
A 60-year-old woman who was the first confirmed human case of West Nile in Riverside County this year is now recovering at home after being hospitalized earlier this month.
West Nile virus activity among birds and mosquito pools has also been reported in Palm Springs, along with the counties of San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura.
Health officials say that the risk to humans of serious illness from the virus, which is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite, is still low, and that most individuals who are infected with the virus will not experience any illness. Elderly individuals and those with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk for serious illness.
Public health authorities say individuals can reduce their risk of mosquito-borne diseases by taking these precautions:
• Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and dusk;
• When outdoors, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and other protective clothing;
• Apply insect repellent according to the label instructions;
• Make sure that the doors and windows have tight fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes;
• Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property that can support mosquito breeding; and
• Contact your local mosquito and vector control agency if there is a significant mosquito problem where you live or work.
Click here for more info from Vector Control on the West Nile virus.