The first confirmed case of a human infected with West Nile Virus this year in the United States was discovered earlier this month in the eastern region of Los Angeles County, according to a report from the Los Angeles Department of Health Services.
The victim, an older man whose identity is being withheld, is said to be “recovering,” officials said.
While an incident of West Nile can occur anywhere at any time, the increase in rainfall has created areas of standing water — the main breeding ground for mosquitoes, the primary vehicles of the infection, according to information available on the Centers for Disease Control website.
Thus far, Northridge has not been one of the hot spots for the virus, said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, health officer and director of Public Health Services for L.A. County.
“I would say we’ve had (more incidents of the virus) in the east and southeast regions (of L.A. County) than in the San Fernando Valley,” Fielding said.
In areas with proven cases of West Nile, less than 1 percent of mosquitoes are infected with the virus, and only one in every 150 people bitten by an infected mosquito will develop serious symptoms, such as meningitis or encephalitis, according to information provided by the Los Angeles Department of Health. The virus presents more of a threat to people over the age of 50, but younger people can become ill if infected as well.
However, the effects are generally mild and will wear off, according to information provided by the department.
The Department of Health Services urges residents everywhere to remove standing water from wherever they can to prevent further breeding, according to the Department of Health Services website.
West Nile Virus can be carried by many animals, especially birds, but can only be passed to humans by mosquitoes.
Some CSUN students do not consider West Nile to be a major concern.
“I’m not going to be splashing around in any puddles, so it doesn’t bother me,” said Jay Ginsberg, junior kinesiology major.
“I’m not worried about it,” said Philippe Iujvidin, junior screenwriting major. “It’s not a big deal.”
Others said they feel there had already been too much unwarranted attention paid to West Nile Virus.
“I think it’s only meant to make (people) feel fear,” said Patricia Galindo, senior sociology major. “We’re always (made to feel) scared about something. It’s terrible. It’s like everything’s all about trying to scare people.”
There are repellents available for those who want to try to keep mosquitoes away. Any repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is recommended and considered the most effective, said Sharon Aronoff, health educator at the Klotz Student Health Center.
According to Los Angeles Public Health officials, repellents containing no more than 35 percent DEET are recommended for adults. Those containing no more than 10 percent DEET are recommended for children.