Three Confirmed Deaths So Far From West Nile Virus in Southern California

2017's outbreak of the West Nile Virus has already claimed three lives in southern California, abc7 reports.

State officials confirm that the three dead came from Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Kern counties. "Everyone should take precautions against mosquitoes by using insect repellent containing an effective ingredient such as DEET, and eliminating any standing water around their home where mosquitoes can breed," instructs interim health counselor for the county, Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser.

Los Angeles County has seen 46 cases of the mosquito-based disease so far this year, a decrease from last year's 153 cases and six deaths. San Bernardino County, on the other hand, has had eight cases in 2016 and 2017, with two deaths last year. However, peak season for the illness is September to early November, meaning the worst could still be on the way. Across the entire state, 87 cases have been reported over 13 different counties.

The Los Angeles victim hailed from San Fernando Valley and had been hospitalized in early August before death due to neuro-invasive disease related to the illness. The San Bernardino County was an elderly man from the west, reported to have already had many serious health issues prior to contracting the disease. For legal and confidentiality-related reasons, California Department of Public Health officials have not offered further insight into the victims.

In addition to human victims, many animals have also been found to have contracted the disease. 239 dead birds from 30 counties have been tested and found to have West Nile Virus. As far as the mosquitoes infecting people, 2,284 samples were found to contain the virus from 24 counties across the state.

Despite distressing numbers, experts tell us that the risk of serious infection or death among the average human is relatively low. Only those with a compromised immune system or those of advanced age are likely to be majorly affected. The best defense against the virus is simply to be vigilante and protect oneself against mosquitoes and other pests.


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