LOS ANGELES, Sept. 18 (UPI) — West Nile virus, a potentially fatal disease transmitted by mosquito bites, is spreading in birds and mosquitoes in Los Angeles County, health officials said.
Two dead virus-infected birds and two infected mosquito samples were collected from communities in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
West Nile virus activity has increased with the rise in temperatures that began in August, health authorities said.
The virus can cause fever, headache, body aches, nausea and skin rash, and symptoms can last for 5 to 15 days. One out of 150 people infected may require hospitalization.
Health officials were urging homeowners to prevent swimming pools and other standing bodies of water from becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Residents are being advised to wear insect repellent to avoid bites.
Statewide, there have been 45 human cases of West Nile virus so far this year, the Times reported.
State officials confirmed the first West Nile virus fatality of 2010 in an elderly woman in Fresno County.
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