SANTA ANA, Calif. - Orange County health officials Wednesday reported the county's first death associated with the West Nile virus.
An elderly man in Garden Grove died from West Nile virus infection complications, health officials said.
Orange County has had five symptomatic West Nile virus infections reported this year. Two had West Nile virus neuroinvasive disease and three had West Nile virus fever; of these, four were hospitalized.
Health officials said that because about 80% of people infected with the West Nile virus have no symptoms, and the majority of cases of West Nile fever do not seek medical care and are not tested, the reported case counts greatly underestimate the number of infected people in Orange County.
Symptoms of West Nile fever include fever, headache, body aches and fatigue. 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 underlying medical conditions are at increased risk of serious complications from West Nile virus infection.
Health officials said that it is especially important to take precautions against mosquito bites during West Nile virus season.
• 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 directions
• Limiting outdoor activity at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active
• Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors