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Orange County

Dead Bird at Leisure World Had W. Nile

August 08, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

Leisure World officials warned residents Friday that a dead hummingbird found in their Laguna Woods retirement community was infected with West Nile virus.

The bird was found near Aliso Creek in an area monitored frequently by county health officials because of Leisure World's elderly population. Mosquitoes, infected by feeding on infected birds, spread the disease.

People can minimize mosquito exposure by using insect repellent with DEET, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outside, ensuring doors and windows are tightly screened and eliminating standing water.

Most people who are bitten don't get the disease, and less than 1% of cases are fatal, health officials said. Those who get the disease experience flu-like symptoms. About one in 150 infected people contract meningitis or encephalitis, officials said. Two people in California have died of the virus this year.

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