West Nile virus back in Los Angeles

08:41, March 19, 2010      

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Two dead birds have tested positive recently for West Nile virus in Los Angeles, indicating that the virus is back in the area, authorities said on Thursday.

"These two West Nile virus positive dead birds are evidence that West Nile virus continues to persist in Los Angeles," said Susanne Kluh of the Vector Control District, which tracks the movements of pests.

The cases are the first two documented in Los Angeles County this year, according to health officials.

The wet winter has produced a good breeding environment for mosquitoes, which are responsible for transmitting the virus, experts said.

The virus, which has no cure but usually does not cause serious illness, is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. The best way to avoid the virus, is to avoid mosquito bites and to get rid of standing water where the blood-sucking pests breed.

Only about 20 percent of people infected exhibit symptoms, and one in 150 require hospitalization. Serious symptoms include high fever, neck stiffness, paralysis and, in rare cases, death, according to experts.

State public health officials started testing dead birds for the virus March 15 and urged people to report dead birds to authorities.

Source: Xinhua
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