An elderly man from Garden Grove is Orange County’s first West Nile virus-related death in 2020, county health officials reported Wednesday, Sept. 16.
A news release issued by the Orange County Health Care Agency about the man’s death did not give his name or age, or the date he died.
In 2019, one Orange County resident died from complications of West Nile virus; there were seven reported cases.
West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne infection with such symptoms as fever, headache, body aches and fatigue. More serious signs of West Nile virus-related neuroinvasive disease include neck stiffness, confusion, muscle weakness and vision loss.
The Garden Grove man was one of five reported cases so far this year of people with West Nile virus symptoms, and four of them were hospitalized, according to the health care agency. Two of the people had neuroinvasive disease; three had fever. Most people with West Nile virus do not experience any symptoms.
Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District has seen increased mosquito activity this year – especially in the communities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Fullerton and La Habra – and an uptick in dead birds infected with West Nile virus. Insecticides have been sprayed in several areas to reduce the mosquito population.
The district encourages residents to take precautionary steps that include:
- Empty standing water
- Repairing windows and screens
- Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants outdoors
- Applying repellent to avoid mosquito bites