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Another dead bird and another “positive” mosquito sample bring to six the number of West Nile virus findings in the Santa Clarita Valley so far this summer.
The virus, for which there is no cure, has infected more than two dozen people in Los Angeles County, at least one of whom has died. Officials from the Greater L.A. County Vector Control District have been going door-to-door in the San Fernando Valley to inspect properties and warn people not to leave standing water in their yards. The virus is spread through mosquito bites.
The most common bite victims are crows or ravens. A dead bird in Saugus was confirmed to have the virus last week, after two others were identified the previous week in Valencia.
A mosquito sample also tested positive last week in Newhall; two other samples also tested positive in recent weeks in the SCV.
The Vector Control District, which covers most of the county, has seen 240 positive mosquito samples, 61 dead birds and another five “surveillance” chickens with the virus so far this year.
“One in five persons infected with West Nile virus will exhibit symptoms,” Vector Control officials say. “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 should report dead birds to the California Department of Public Health at 877-WNV BIRD, or visit www.westnile.ca.gov.
The Vector Control 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.