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Second-ever case of local dengue virus reported in Southern California

A colony of sabethes cyaneus, also known as the paddle-legged beauty for its feathery appendages and iridescent coloring blood, fly in an enclosure at the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, in Salt Lake City. Mosquitoes can carry viruses including dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and Zika. They are especially threatening to public health in Asia and Africa but are also closely monitored in the United States. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Long Beach health officials confirmed the city’s first case of locally-acquired dengue fever on Wednesday.

The virus is a mosquito-borne disease that is typically connected to those who have traveled outside of the country.

Long Beach’s case marks the state’s second locally-acquired case without travel. The first-ever case was confirmed in October 2023 after a Pasadena resident contracted it and was hospitalized.

Both the Long Beach and Pasadena residents had no history of traveling to a region where dengue is common, officials said. Both patients have since recovered and no other suspected cases have been identified, health officials said.

Dengue is a disease caused by a virus that spreads through mosquito bites, according to the L.A. County Department of Health.

“When a mosquito bites someone with dengue virus in their blood, that mosquito can then spread the virus to others,” city officials said.

Most people who are infected with the dengue virus have no symptoms, but about 1 in 4 infected people will experience symptoms that may include:

-High fever
-Aches and pains to the eyes, joints or bones

Symptoms typically last two to seven days and most people recover within two weeks. While some people may experience severe illness, fatalities from dengue are rare, city officials note.

Although there are no specific medications for the disease, healthcare providers can recommend treatments for recovery including fluids, rest, and medication for pain or fever.

Aedes mosquitos are most active during the day and in well-lit areas at nighttime and only need a small amount of water to breed.

Tips to avoid mosquito bites and to reduce mosquito populations include:

-Use a mosquito repellent with DEET, IR3535, picaridin or products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (do not use oil of lemon eucalyptus on children younger than 3 years old).
-Wear loosely fitted, long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
-Eliminate standing water around clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs, and anything that holds water for over a week; Aedes mosquitos can breed in a very small amount of water, including a bottle cap.
-Keep weeds, vines, hedges and grass trimmed; adult mosquitos like to rest in vegetation.
-Change water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers weekly.
-Ensure that swimming pools, spas and ponds are properly maintained.
-Report neglected swimming pools in your neighborhood to the Health Department’s Vector Control Program.

“We are taking many steps to prevent mosquito-borne infections in Long Beach,” said Health Officer, Dr. Anissa Davis. “Outreach teams are visiting the neighborhood where dengue was identified to provide information on mosquito bite prevention and ways to control mosquito breeding around the home. Health Department staff continue to trap and test mosquitoes in nearby areas to look for infected mosquitoes and are intensifying efforts to reduce breeding and control mosquito populations.”

“The health and well-being of the community is our most important priority,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “We are working closely with health officials to do everything we can to prevent more cases. We ask that everyone do their part by removing any standing water on their property to help us control the mosquitoes in our neighborhoods.”

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