PALMDALE – A Palmdale man in his 20s was reported Thursday as the first-ever Antelope Valley case of a human infected with the West Nile virus. The man had donated blood in late July and screening identified the sample to be positive for the virus, which is spread by mosquitoes that bite infected birds. “He reported that he had been bitten by mosquitoes inside and outside his house,” said Karen Mellor, Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District entomologist. “That reminds us even around the house when outside, put on repellant and long sleeves and pants and make sure screens fit tight.” At the time he donated blood, the man was showing no symptoms of the virus. Several weeks later, however, he developed a fever and has been classified as a West Nile virus fever case. To date, 17 blood donors statewide have tested positive for the virus. Up to this point, the virus had only sickened and killed birds and horses since first turning up in 2003 in the Antelope Valley. A sparrow found dead Aug. 10 in Lancaster has been confirmed as the Antelope Valley’s first bird death this year from West Nile virus. A dead sparrow in Newhall also has tested positive for the virus. Mosquitoes trapped in the past two years in the Santa Clarita Valley indicated the virus was present there. In California, West Nile has shown up in 49 counties. There have been 10 deaths statewide, including four in Kern County and one in the San Fernando Valley. Antelope Valley mosquito-control officials reminded residents to drain standing water, report abandoned swimming pools and dead birds, and wear protective clothing and mosquito repellant when outdoors. The Antelope Valley mosquito control district maintains eight “sentinel” flocks of six chickens each to detect mosquito-borne diseases: three in Palmdale, three in Lancaster, and one each in Quartz Hill and Rosamond. Mellor encourages residents to report abandoned pools or dead birds to the hotline, (877) WNV-Bird, or online at www.westnile.ca.gov. [email protected] (661) 476-4586160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
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