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By Andrea Swayne
County officials have issued an alert along with a map of West Nile Virus activity in Orange County as reported cases of the mosquito-borne infection continue to rise.
As of Wednesday, Aug. 20, 32 people have been infected with the virus this year, according to the Orange County Healthcare Agency. The first case of human infection was reported on July 10. On Aug. 4, nine cases had been recorded.
The map, prepared by the Orange County Vector Control District, identifies areas where the risk of contracting the disease is greatest. High risk areas include the neighboring city of Laguna Niguel.
County health and vector control agencies are asking for help from the public in combating the spread of the virus. Precautionary measures include performing routine inspections for standing water around the home and avoiding overwatering. Standing water—as small as a bottle capful—provide an ideal environments for mosquito breeding.
Other precautions include using insect repellant containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, lemon or eucalyptus oil, making sure window screens are in good repair, wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants and avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk.
Areas where mosquitos are biting, dead birds and neglected pools and fountains should be reported to OCVCD at 714.971.2421 or 949.654.2421.
For more information, including the West Nile Virus activity map, visit www.ocvcd.org.