Orange County Reports First Human Case of West Nile Virus of 2018

SANTA ANA (CNS) - A Tustin woman in her 70s was diagnosed this week with West Nile virus-caused encephalitis, marking the first human WNV infection identified in Orange County this season, local health officials announced today. The Orange County Health Agency did not identify the woman or provide information on her condition. 

In 2017, there were 38 reported human infections of WNV and four WNV-related deaths reported in the county.``West Nile Virus is endemic in Orange County, recurring every year during the summer months and continuing into the fall,'' said Dr. Eric Handler, the county's health officer. 

``The best way to avoid West Nile virus infection is to take precautionary measures to avoid mosquito bites.''

Most people who become infected with the virus do not experience symptoms, but about 20 percent will develop a fever and may have a headache, body aches, nausea, tiredness and sometimes a skin rash. More serious symptoms, such as severe headaches, neck stiffness, confusion, muscle weakness or paralysis, occur more rarely, but people who develop those symptoms are advised to seek medical care immediately. People over the age of 50 and those with certain medical conditions are at increased risk of serious complications from West Nile infection. 

Recommended WNV precautions include:

-- emptying all standing water on one's property to reduce areas in which mosquitoes may breed, including flower pots and pet bowls;

-- making sure window and door screens are in good condition;

-- using insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or products containing IR3535, and always following label directions;

-- limiting outdoor activity at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active; and

-- wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. 

Information on mosquito control is available on the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District's website at

Other websites with helpful information about WNV include:

-- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,;

-- State of California,; and

-- OC Health Care Agency, .

Photo: Getty Images

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