TUSTIN (CBSLA) – An elderly Tustin woman became the first person to die of West Nile Virus this year in Orange County.

The O.C. Health Care Agency reported Tuesday that the woman died of infection complications brought on by the virus. She was not identified.

Earlier this month, a longtime public defender became the first person to die of WNV this year in L.A. County. The 53-year-old Robert Johnson of Shadow Hills passed away Oct. 6 following a month-long fight with the viral infection.

Also this month, the O.C. County Mosquito and Vector Control District sprayed several Fullerton neighborhoods with pesticides due to an increase in WNV activity there.

As of Tuesday, there have been eight total reported cases of WNV in Orange County.

As of Oct. 12, there have been 41 reported cases of WNV in L.A. County, excluding Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own local health care agencies. Of those, 31 required hospitalization.

Symptoms of the WNV — which is transmitted by mosquito bites — can include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headaches, but many people who are infected may not show any symptoms. In rare cases patients can develop more serious problems, such as brain inflammation or paralysis.

To protect yourself from WNV, wear mosquito repellant containing the active ingredients of DEET, Picaridin or IR3535 if you are spending time outdoors.

You should also replace any standing water around your home, such as pet bowls, at least once a week, because those can serve as a mosquito breeding ground. You should also close all unscreened doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.

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