A Tustin woman in her 50s was diagnosed last week with West Nile virus fever, becoming the first person to contract the virus in Orange County this year, health officials announced Monday.
West Nile recurs in the county during the summer and into the fall each year, health officer Nichole Quick said in a statement. In 2018, the county reported 12 infections and one West Nile virus-related death.
An Imperial County man died in early July after contracting the virus. Four have died of West Nile-related illnesses across the U.S. in 2019, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention records show.
Los Angeles County health officials have so far announced two locals recovering from West Nile this season.
While most people infected with the virus don’t see any symptoms, about 20% experience fever and may have headaches, body aches, nausea, fatigue and skin rash, according to the O.C. Health Care Agency.
Rare but more serious symptoms include severe headaches, stiff neck, confusion, muscle weakness or paralysis. Individuals over 50 years old or those with particular medical conditions are especially vulnerable of complications, health officials said.
The best way to steer clear of infections is to avoid mosquito bites, Quick said. The O.C. Health Care Agency recommends taking the following precautions:
- Get rid of standing water, including in flower pots and pet bowls
- Ensure window and door screens are in good condition
- Use insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil or products containing IR3535, making sure to follow label directions
- Limit activities outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitos are the most active
- When outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants