The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District has confirmed a West Nile virus-positive mosquito sample collected from a trap in the city of Long Beach (90803 zip code), the first confirmation of the presence of the virus in mosquito populations within the county this year.
Virus activity has been increasing steadily throughout California, GLACVDC reports.
“West Nile virus is endemic in Los Angeles County. When temperatures increase, so do mosquito populations and disease risk, which pose a serious public health threat for our communities,” said Susanne Kluh, director of Scientific-Technical Services at GLACVCD.
WNV is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no cure for WNV. One in five persons infected with the virus will exhibit symptoms.
Symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or a skin rash. These symptoms can last for several days 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.
“Our agency will continue monitoring virus activity and controlling mosquitoes in affected areas,” said Anais Medina Diaz, public information officer for GLACVCD. “But it is very important residents take precautions in their own communities by wearing insect repellent and frequently removing standing water to eliminate mosquito sources.”
Many mosquito repellents are available to prevent bites, but they do not all work equally well. The Centers for Disease Control recommend products with the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus as being safe and effective against mosquitoes that can transmit disease when used according to the labels.
Wearing loose-fitting long sleeves and pants can also help deter bites.
Any water left standing for more than one week in containers such as flower pots, fountains and pet dishes provides the perfect breeding habitat for mosquitoes. GLACVCD would like to remind residents that even the smallest water source can contribute to a large public health problem.
Mosquito control is a shared responsibility and residents must take an active role in reducing the threat of WNV in their neighborhoods by taking the following steps:
* Eliminate standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs or anything that holds water for more than a week.
* Ensure that swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained.
* Change the water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers weekly.
* Request mosquitofish from your local vector control district for placement in ornamental ponds.
* Wear insect repellent when outdoors where mosquitoes may be present.
* Report neglected (green) swimming pools in your neighborhood to your vector control district.
For more information, residents can contact the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at 562-944-9656 or online at www.glacvcd.org.
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District is a public health service agency formed under the authority of the California State Health & Safety Code. Our mission is to reduce populations of public health vectors below nuisance levels and prevent human infection associated with mosquito-transmitted diseases.
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