By City News Service
Thirty-seven more mosquitoes and nine dead birds with West Nile virus were found in Los Angeles County, from the western San Fernando Valley to the South Bay, health officials today said.
The news came one day after county officials confirmed the area's first human death from West Nile virus this year -- a 78-year-old Carson man whose family said he died from the virus Tuesday.
Mosquito samples with the virus were detected from Canoga Park in the western end of the valley through Van Nuys and Arleta to Sunland at the east end, officials at the Los Angeles County Vector Control District said.
The first bird found with the virus this year was collected in Arcadia in June, and three more were found last week in Arcadia and Covina.
In the Los Angeles basin, infected mosquitoes were found in a wide swath from Long Beach north through Signal Hill, Downey, Cerritos, Santa Fe Springs and Norwalk, then north into the San Gabriel Valley cities of Hacienda Heights and South El Monte.
Dead birds with the virus were found in San Pedro, Downey, Tarzana and Long Beach.
But no infections were found in the western or central sections of the county.
Family members told reporters that Albert Shipman died from the virus Tuesday night at Little Company of Mary Hospital in San Pedro, after being hospitalized for about two weeks.
"He was experiencing loss of memory, slurred speech and pain on his right side," Alfonso Shipman told the Daily Breeze. "Then finally, about 10 days ago, they said it's West Nile ... We were just devastated."
Public health officials said there have been 13 human cases of West Nile virus in the county so far this year, including six people who never developed symptoms but were identified after donating blood.
West Nile virus is passed to human beings through the bite of an infected mosquito, which typically obtains the disease by feeding on infected birds.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer than one in 150 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito become severely sick. But in those rare cases, the virus can cause encephalitis or even death.
Health officials said about 20 percent of people infected with the virus will experience symptoms such as fever, headaches, nausea, swollen lymph glands or a skin rash.