West Nile

Held by a pair of tweezers, one of thousands of trapped mosquitoes is examined by Los Angeles County Vector Control officers. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times / July 27, 2004)

A 70-year-old Huntington Beach man has become the second person in Orange County to die from West Nile virus this year, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

There now have been eight West Nile deaths in the state, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Aside from the Orange County deaths, all have been in Northern California.

Orange County has seen a sizable jump in West Nile cases this year. There have been 53 cases so far compared with two at this time last year, according to figures from the Health Care Agency and the state Department of Public Health.

Los Angeles County has reported just six cases this year, compared with 27 at this time last year.

Earlier this week, test results revealed that a Seal Beach woman had died from the virus, marking Orange County's first fatality from the mosquito-borne illness since 2012.

The test results indicated that the unidentified woman, who was in her 80s and had underlying medical conditions, had contracted West Nile neuroinvasive disease, the most severe form of the illness, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

"We had indications early in the summer that this was going to be an epidemic year," said Jared Dever, director of communications for the Orange County Vector Control District. "We knew that by the volume and the prevalence [of disease-carrying mosquitoes] in our traps."

The Health Care Agency and the Vector Control District are asking residents to wear insect repellent, limit outdoor activity at dusk and dawn and empty all standing water around property to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Symptoms of West Nile virus can include fever, headache, body aches, convulsions and muscle weakness. Experts say people who believe that they may be infected should see a physician immediately.

Times Community News staff writer Anthony Clark Carpio contributed to this report.