Orange County Health Care Agency
Press Release, for Immediate Release: December 17, 2012
Orange County Reports West Nile Virus Related Fatality
(Santa Ana) – A 61 year old Orange County woman died last week of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection after a several-week illness. She had the more severe form of WNV infection, West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease.
As of December 5 the total number of reported symptomatic cases of WNV infection in Orange County is 39, and 6 blood donors have tested positive for the virus. Cases most frequently occur inthe summer and fall, and most Orange County cases this year occurred in September and October. While the number of cases has decreased significantly in the last month this is the highest number of WNV infections and the first WNV related fatality in the County since 2008, when there were 79 total WNV infections and three WNV related fatalities. “This unfortunate death shows how serious West Nile Virus infection can be,” said Dr. Eric G. Handler, County Health Officer.
County health officials point out that while WNV season may have ended for the year, it is always wise to take precautions against mosquito bites during the peak West Nile Virus season. Recommended WNV precautions include:
· Emptying all standing water on your property to reduce areas in which mosquitoes may breed, including flower pots and pet bowls
· Making sure your window and door screens are in good condition
· Using insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or products containing IR3535, always following label
· Limiting outdoor activity at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active
· Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
Most people who become infected with West Nile Virus do not experience symptoms or become seriously ill. About 20% of those infected with West Nile Virus will experience symptoms of West Nile fever, which may include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, tiredness, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash. Anyone who develops the more serious symptoms of West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease, such as severe headaches, neck stiffness, confusion, muscle weakness, or vision loss should seek medical care immediately. People over 50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions are at increased risk of serious complications from West Nile Virus infection.
Information on mosquito control is available on the Orange County Vector Control District’s website at www.ocvcd.org. Other websites with helpful information about West Nile Virus include:
· Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov
· State of California www.westnile.ca.gov
· Orange County Health Care Agency www.ochealthinfo.com
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