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First West Nile Virus in Los Angeles County Found

West Nile Virus
The first West Nile Virus of 2014 has arrived in Los Angeles County. (Thinkstock)

A mosquito trapped in Sherman Oaks is the first this year in Los Angeles County found to be carrying West Nile virus, the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District reported today.

The mosquito was collected in the 91403 ZIP code.

“This is an unfortunate reminder that West Nile virus continues to be a problem here in Los Angeles County,” district spokeswoman Kelly Middleton said. “We can anticipate more activity as the season progresses.”

The mild winter and unseasonably warm temperatures were conducive to early mosquito breeding, Middleton said.

West Nile virus — which has no known cure — is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Health officials estimate that about one in five people infected with West Nile virus will exhibit symptoms, which may include fever, headache, body ache, nausea and skin rashes.

Severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma, paralysis and possible death, authorities said. About one in 150 people infected with the virus require hospitalization.

“The threat is real and cannot be underestimated,” district public information officer Levy Sun said. “The warm weather and neglected water sources, such as swimming pools and flowerpot saucers, have provided perfect conditions for mosquitoes to thrive.”

Any water left standing for more than a week is a potential mosquito breeding spot.

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