Southern California breaking news and trends

Tustin woman dies of West Nile virus, first Orange County West Nile death in 4 years (UPDATED)

Mercer 21041

James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Aedes albopictus mosquito, also known as the Asian Tiger Mosquito, has been found to spread West Nile Virus.

UPDATE 1:19 P.M.:  A Tustin woman has died from West Nile Virus, the first person in Orange County to die from the disease in four years.

Most West Nile infections occur in the summer and fall, but since we live in a warmer climate, we’re at risk year-round.
 
This woman, who’s name isn’t being released, had been sick in the hospital for several weeks.
 
"This definitely does serve as a reminder that West Nile virus is an endemic disease in Orange County and in California,” said Jared Dever, director of communications at the Orange County Vector Control District, which monitors West Nile.
 
39 infections have been reported in the county this year – the most since 2008.  Six blood donors have tested positive for the virus.

Dever says nearly all infections happen when people are bitten by mosquitoes while they’re sleeping.
 
“That stresses the point of maintaining your property, having your window screens and door screens in good repair, making sure there’s no standing water around your property, and avoiding that time outdoors when mosquitoes are feeding, which is dusk and dawn,” said Dever.

The good news is that most are who are infected – 80% - never have any symptoms, which include fever, headache, and nausea.
 
Those over 50 years old are at higher risk of serious complications
 
The two who died from West Nile in Los Angeles County this year were in their 80’s.
 
The Tustin woman who died last week was 61 years old.

UPDATE 11:22 A.M: A woman is the first person in Orange County to die from West Nile virus this year.

The county Health Care Agency announced that the Tustin woman, who was in her 60s, died last week due to the mosquito-borne virus. There are no other details. It is the first death attributed to the virus in Orange County in four years.

West Nile is passed through the bite of an infected mosquito, which become infected by feeding on infected birds.

One out of every 150 infected people develop severe symptoms, including neck stiffness, disorientation, coma and paralysis.

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