Two of the four birds identified with West Nile virus across Los Angeles County over the past week were found in Valencia – bringing to four the number of WNV-positive findings in the Santa Clarita Valley so far in 2013.
West Nile virus has been creeping up from areas to the south of the SCV, as has done every summer in recent years.
Over the past week, 44 WNV-positive mosquito samples were collected by the Greater L.A. County Vector Control District, which covers most of the county.
In recent weeks, mosquito samples tested positive in the SCV, most recently near the Vista Valencia Golf Course.
Dead birds are most often crows, which catch the virus when they’re bitten by infected mosquitoes.
According to Vector Control, “West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no cure for West Nile virus. One in five persons infected with West Nile virus will exhibit symptoms. Symptoms usually occur between five and 15 days and can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or a skin rash. These symptoms can last for several weeks to months. One in 150 people infected with the virus will require hospitalization. Severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma, paralysis, and possibly death.
“The public is encouraged to report dead birds to help with West Nile virus surveillance and control efforts because birds play an important role in maintaining and spreading the virus. To reach the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), call their toll-free hotline at 877-WNV BIRD or visit them on-line at www.westnile.ca.gov.”
The District recommends residents follow the Three D’s of West Nile virus prevention to protect themselves and their families:
Dump/Drain – Eliminate or report standing water on your property because that’s where mosquitoes breed.
Dusk/Dawn – Avoid outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active.
Defend – If you are outdoors when mosquitoes are biting, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts and apply insect repellent containing EPA-registered active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, and Oil of lemon eucalyptus.