A 60-year-old woman from southwest Riverside County was found infected with West Nile virus -- the first confirmed human case countywide this year, public health officials said today.
The woman, whose identity was not disclosed, was hospitalized for treatment of virus-related symptoms and is now recovering at home, according to the county Department of Public Health.
Fourteen cases of human infection have been reported statewide in the past few months. Half of them have surfaced in Los Angeles County, according to the California Department of Public Health.
Two people have died from WNV-related complications -- one in L.A. and the other in Sacramento County.
In 2012, there were 19 confirmed human cases in Riverside County, none of them fatal. The county's last known WNV-related human fatality occurred in 2008.
Mosquitoes typically become carriers of WNV after feeding on an infected bird and can then spread the potentially lethal strain to animals and humans, according to health officials.
Those at greatest risk include seniors and individuals with compromised immune systems.
Symptoms may never materialize, but can include fever, headache, nausea, body aches, skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes.
Mosquito season in Southern California generally spans the months of May through October. To reduce exposure to WNV during this period, residents are urged to:
-- spend as little time as possible outdoors at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are most active;
-- wear pants and long-sleeved shirts during outdoor activity;
-- use insect repellent;
-- ensure door and window screens are fitted properly to keep bugs out; and
-- get rid of standing water, aside from pools properly treated with chemicals.
The California Department of Public Health asks anyone who finds a dead crow, raven, magpie or jaybird to call the West Nile hotline: (877) 968-2473.
Anyone with concerns about WNV, mosquitoes, neglected pools or standing water can contact the Riverside County Vector Control program at (951) 766-9454.