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Tustin woman is 1st human case of West Nile virus in Orange County in 2019

May contain: animal, insect, invertebrate, and mosquito

A female resident of Tustin, in her 50s, is the first human case of West Nile virus reported in Orange County this year, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced Monday, Aug. 19.

Last year, the virus affected 12 people in the county and resulted in one death, according to the Health Care Agency. The first human case reported in 2018 also was a Tustin woman.

On Aug. 5, the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District announced that mosquitoes found in Orange, along with nine dead birds discovered in Cypress, Buena Park, Huntington Beach and Tustin, had tested positive for the virus.

Last week, vector control officials said infected mosquitoes also had been found in Buena Park and Santa Ana.

The disease is passed on to humans by infected mosquitoes that contract it from birds.

Symptoms of the virus may include fever, nausea, fatigue and rashes. In more serious cases, the infection can lead to confusion, paralysis and weakness. However, most people with the virus do not experience symptoms.

“People over 50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions are at increased risk of serious complications from WNV infection,” the Health Care Agency said in a press release.

The agency’s tips to prevent mosquito bites and to avoid contracting the virus:

  • Empty all standing water on your property to reduce areas in which mosquitoes may breed, including flower pots and pet bowls.
  • Make sure window and door screens are in good condition.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or products containing IR3535, always following label directions.
  • Limit outdoor activity at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
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