A sample of mosquitos found in Long Beach tested positive for West Nile Virus, confirming the virus’ presence in Los Angeles County for the first time this year, health officials said Friday.

“While this confirmation serves as the District’s first positive West Nile virus mosquito pool this year, virus activity has been increasing steadily throughout California,” the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District said.

The agency said the risk of contracting the virus increases as temperatures rise and bring more mosquitos to California.

West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito, and is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most people who contract the virus don’t experience any symptoms, but some may develop a fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or a skin rash, and symptoms can last for months, the L.A. County health agency said.

About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness, according to the agency.

A 74-year-old Imperial County man who died in June after contracting West Nile virus is believed to be the first death caused by the disease in the state in 2019, officials told the Los Angeles Times.

Last year, 11 people died of West Nile in California, officials said.

There are no vaccines to prevent the virus in people, but residents can reduce the risk of contracting it during mosquito season by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.

Water left standing for more than a week in containers like flower pots, fountains and pet dishes, or in unmaintained pools, can become a breeding habitat for mosquitoes, health officials said.

For more information, residents can contact the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at 562-944-9656 or online at glacvcd.org


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