California officials report 3 West Nile virus deaths

FILE - In this Friday, May 11, 2007 photo, a mosquito is sorted according to species and gender before testing for West Nile Virus at the Dallas County mosquito lab in Dallas. Scientists have been working on mathematical models to predict outbreaks for decades and have long factored in the weather. They have known, for example, that temperature and rainfall affect the breeding of mosquitoes that carry malaria, West Nile virus and other dangerous diseases. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s Department of Public Health has confirmed three deaths from the West Nile virus, the first this year.

This is the peak transmission period for the mosquito-borne disease, which doesn’t pose a grave risk for most people but can afflict about 1 percent who contract it with serious neurologic illnesses.

The department said Friday the three people who died were residents of Kern, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. In all, the department has recorded 87 human cases of the virus in 13 California counties this year.

The elderly are most susceptible to the virus, as are people with diabetes or high blood pressure.

Standard precautions against mosquitoes are the best ways to prevent infection.

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