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OC Health Care Agency reports first human West Nile Virus case of 2021

The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) has confirmed that a Buena Park woman has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), becoming the first human WNV infection in Orange County this year. The woman was hospitalized in early September with neuroinvasive disease and is now recuperating.

Fewer WNV cases have been reported here in 2021 versus prior years. In 2020 there were 19 reported human infections of WNV and one WNV-related deaths reported in Orange County.

“West Nile Virus is endemic in Orange County, recurring every year during the summer months and continuing into the fall,” said Dr. Matt Zahn, Deputy County Health Officer. “The best way to avoid West Nile Virus infection is to take precautionary measures to avoid mosquito bites.”

Recommended WNV precautions include:

  • Emptying all standing water on your property to reduce areas in which mosquitoes may breed, including flowerpots 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.

Most people who become infected with WNV do not experience symptoms, but about 20% will develop fever and may have 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 these symptoms 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 WNV infection.

Information on mosquito control is available on the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District’s website at www.ocvector.org. Other websites with helpful information about WNV include:

This article was released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.