LOS ANGELES—On Thursday, July 30, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) announced that it had identified the first two West Nile virus (WNV) infections in the county.

“West Nile virus continues to be a serious health threat to residents in Los Angeles County,” Muntu Davis — a County Health Officer — said. “We are now in peak mosquito season in Los Angeles County and residents should also protect themselves from mosquito-borne illnesses by using EPA-registered mosquito repellent products.”

Public Health noted that these cases are the first ones to be identified in humans for the 2020 season, and that this count excludes any cases in Long Beach and Pasadena as these cities report their cases locally. Mosquito season throughout the county stretches from June to November each year.

Both people who were infected are San Fernando Valley residents. One patient is an “older adult with no underlying illness” who was “hospitalized with neuroinvasive disease.” The other infection was detected in a healthy blood donor.

WNV is transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes; there is no treatment for WNV disease or vaccine to prevent infection. Symptoms of infection — according to Public Health — include fever, muscle pains, and fatigue.

Those who are aged above 50 years old and those who have chronic medical conditions are at risk of severe WNV infections. These can result in the brain and spinal cord getting affected, potentially leading to meningitis, paralysis, and encephalitis. 

“We encourage residents to cover, clean or get rid of items that can hold water and breed mosquitoes both inside and outside your home,” Davis continued. “This is important now more than ever as we spend a majority of our time at home.”