CARSON, Calif. (KTLA) — Los Angeles County health officials on Thursday reported the year’s first human death from West Nile Virus.
Albert Shipman, 78, had pre-existing health conditions and was hospitalized in San Pedro when he died on Tuesday, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
His sudden death stunned family members.
“It’s just hard. One day he’s here and the next day he’s gone,” Shipman’s daughter Cynthia Balla said.
Shipman’s son told KTLA that the retired Army veteran was full of life.
“Something as small as a mosquito took down a man that we know as strong and active,” Allan Shipman said.
Initially, it appeared that Albert Shipman had the flu, his son said.
“Then slowly but surely he got tired, weak — stuff like that to the point that he couldn’t do anything,” Allan Shipman said.
There have been 13 West Nile virus infections this year in L.A. County, according to health officials.
Most people bitten by a mosquito are not exposed to West Nile virus, but some individuals may become infected with the disease, said Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, the county’s director of public health.
They may experience symptoms that can last for months, or even years, such as fatigue, malaise and depression, Fielding said.
People were urged to take precautions such as getting rid of stagnant water around their homes and using a repellent with DEET when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, especially at dawn or dusk.
As of July 30, the virus had been detected in 118 mosquito pools and 141 dead birds in L.A. County.
Seventy-five percent of the dead birds and nearly half of the mosquitoes were found in the South Bay, officials said.
Residents were asked to report dead birds to the California Department of Public Health at (877) WNV-BIRD (968-2473).