First West Nile virus case of 2015 confirmed in Long Beach

Long Beach health officials confirmed Wednesday the city's first human case of West Nile virus this year.

No details were immediately released about the patient. According to the city, there have been 123 human cases of West Nile virus in California this year, including six in Orange County and four in Los Angeles County -- which
has its own health department separate from the city of Long Beach.

Los Angeles County officials, however, said they have documented 18 human cases of the virus in the county so far this year.

Los Angeles County officials also confirmed Wednesday the county's first death due to the virus.

In 2014, there were 801 cases throughout California -- the second-highest figure on record -- resulting in 31 deaths, according to state officials.

Mosquitoes typically become carriers of the virus after feeding on an infected bird and can then spread the potentially lethal strain to animals and humans.

Those at greatest risk include seniors and individuals with compromised immune systems. Symptoms may never materialize, but can include fever, headache, nausea, body aches, skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes.

Mosquito season in Southern California generally spans the months of May to October. To reduce exposure to West Nile virus, residents are urged to:
-- spend as little time as possible outdoors at dawn or dusk, when
mosquitoes are generally on the move;
-- wear pants and long-sleeved shirts during outdoor activity;
-- use insect repellent;
-- ensure door and window screens are fitted properly to keep bugs out; and
-- get rid of standing water, aside from pools properly treated with chemicals.

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