(FOX/CNS) The death of an eastern Long Beach man was confirmed today as the city's first fatality due to West Nile virus since 2004.
According to Long Beach Health Officer Mitchell Kushner, the man was in his 70s and was hospitalized in October.
Long Beach has had six human cases of West Nile virus this year, according to the city. Eight people in Los Angeles County have died from complications of West Nile, Long Beach officials said.
"The death of a Long Beach resident due to West Nile virus is a sad and sobering reminder of the risk posed by mosquito bites," Kushner said. "Even though summer is over and West Nile virus season is winding down, warm weather can continue and mosquitoes can still be active. We should still take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and minimize the risk of WNV infection."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than one in 150 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito become severely sick. But in those rare cases, the virus can cause encephalitis or even death.
Health officials said about 20 percent of people infected with the virus will experience symptoms such as fever, headaches, nausea, swollen lymph glands or a skin rash.
Expert recommend that to avoid the disease, residents should:-- avoid outdoor activities around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active;
-- wear long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors;
-- apply insect repellents containing active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus;
-- keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out; and
-- eliminate all sources of standing water around their homes and properly maintain ornamental ponds, pools and spas.