L.A. County Sees First West Nile Virus Case Of Season

The first West Nile Virus case for the 2010 season has been reported in Los Angeles County, according to the county's director of public health.

A teenager came down with the virus in mid-August and has since recovered, the county reports. "West Nile Virus is primarily spread through mosquito bites, so I encourage everyone to protect themselves from these pests," stated public health honcho Jonathan Fielding.

Fielding warned that stagnant water is the biggest problem when it comes to the virus.

"Get rid of pools of stagnant water around your home where mosquitoes breed and use a repellant containing DEET or another approved repellent when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, especially around dawn or dusk," he said.

Public health officials have detected the virus in 17 dead birds, 31 mosquito pools, two sentinel chickens, and one squirrel in the county as of the end of August, according to the department of health statement.

Although most people infected with West Nile only report fever, headache, nausea, body aches, and skin rashes, one in 150 of its victims become severely ill, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A county hotline will provide West Nile updates for the county: 800-975-4448.

Stagnant pools and water should be reported to the county's Environmental Health Bureau at 626-430-5200.

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