LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Thursday confirmed the first human cases of West Nile Virus in Los Angeles County.

According to LADPH officials, a San Fernando Valley female in her 60s was hospitalized after contracting the disease in mid-July.

She had no reported medical history prior to being infected and is recovering in a hospital, officials said.

According to authorities, the second reported case involves a 20-year-old asymptomatic male blood donor who tested positive for the disease in late July and remains healthy.

The West Nile Virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito that previously fed on a bird carrying the virus, health officials said.

“All residents should take the proper precautions to avoid and protect against mosquitoes, as that is the primary way the disease is transmitted,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, director of public health.

However, officials stress that the virus can not be spread through person-to-person contact, or directly from birds to humans, a news release states.

According to the LADPH, symptoms from the virus may include fever, headache, nausea, body aches and a mild skin rash that could appear within three to 12 days after being infected.

However, most people who contract the virus have mild or no symptoms and do not seek medical care.

As of Aug. 5, West Nile Virus activity has been detected in 48 mosquito pools, 10 dead birds and 14 sentinel chickens located across Los Angeles County, officials said.

Health and state officials have urged residents to take precaution against mosquitoes.

Truc Dever, general manager of the greater Los Angeles County vector control district, said it is imperative for the public to help minimize the risk of being bitten by removing sources of water that can breed mosquitoes.

“This is not a virus to take lightly,” Dever said. “Residents should report dead birds and also report sources of standing water to their local vector agencies.”

Overall, 35 human infections have been documented in California.

“West Nile can appear anywhere in Los Angeles County or around the state,” Fielding said. “We are urging people to take precautions, such as getting rid of pools of stagnant water around their homes, and using a repellent containing DEET when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, especially around dawn or dusk.”

Officials urge anyone to report stagnant swimming pools or “green pools” to the Public Health Environmental Health Bureau at (626) 430-5200. Any dead birds should be reported online or by calling (877) 968-2473.


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