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230 Sickened by West Nile Virus, Marking Third-Highest Number of Cases Ever in L.A. County, Health Officials Say

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Amid a heat wave that could make West Nile virus more likely to spread, the number of people infected with the disease in Los Angeles County continued to climb this week.

At least 230 people in L.A. County have fallen sick with West Nile this year, and 17 of them have died, health officials said Friday. The number of people infected is already the third-highest ever in the county, according to health officials — and the season has yet to end.

“We typically see cases until the end of November,” said Dr. Aiman Halai, head of the vector-borne disease unit at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “West Nile virus is a risk in all areas of the county.”

Though most people who get West Nile don’t have any symptoms, one out of every 150 people infected develops serious problems that can include meningitis (swelling of the brain), vision loss, coma and weeks-long or even permanent paralysis.

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