The Long Beach Health Department has confirmed its first human case of mosquito-borne St. Louis Encephalitis since 1984, city officials announced on Thursday.
The person who was infected was hospitalized but is currently recovering at home, officials said, and no other cases have been identified.
“We are working diligently with healthcare providers to educate the community to prevent more cases of SLEV,” Mayor Rex Richardson said in a statement. “Mosquito control is a shared responsibility and residents must take an active role in reducing the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses in their neighborhoods.”
SLEV is a disease caused by St. Louis Encephalitis and can spread to people if infected culex mosquitoes bite them. Most people who have the virus don’t show symptoms, but those who do can experience fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the most severe and rare cases, people may develop a neuroinvasive disease, a long-term disability, or can die from the disease, the CDC said.
12 human cases of SLEV have been reported in California so far this year.
People can’t transmit the disease to another person. While everyone is at risk for SLEV, people 50 years old and older with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of experiencing severe symptoms, a news release stated.
There are no vaccines or medicines to prevent SLEV. However, healthcare providers can recommend treatments to aid with recovery.
“The first confirmation of SLEV in Long Beach should serve as a reminder that we need to protect ourselves against mosquitoes,” Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said in a statement. “The Health Department encourages everyone to continue reporting issues regarding mosquito control in their area.”
Mosquitoes that transmit SLEV are most active at dusk and dawn, so residents out during those times are encouraged to adhere to the following guidelines:
Use a mosquito repellent with DEET, IR3535, picaridin, or products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus. Lemon eucalyptus shouldn’t be used on children 3 years old or younger.
Wear loosely fitted, long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Get rid of standing water around your property.
Keep weeds, vines, hedges and grass trimmed; adult mosquitos like to rest in vegetation.
Water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers should be changed weekly.
Swimming pools, spas and ponds should be properly maintained.