LOS ANGELES – Supervisor Janice Hahn and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health held a press conference last week to provide an update on increases in cases of West Nile virus, and the continued risk of Zika virus in Los Angeles County.
Public Health will conduct a countywide mosquito-borne disease public health campaign, titled “It’s Not Just A Bite” to inform residents about the continued risk of West Nile virus and Zika virus infections and to promote actions people can take to protect themselves and their communities from mosquito-borne diseases.
“We can’t take it for granted that a mosquito bite is just an annoying itch, because it can make you sick,” said Hahn. “It is imperative that we inform our residents about steps that we all can take to really make a difference and prevent mosquito-borne diseases.”
“Starting today, Public Health will deploy 100 teams across the county to deliver packets to over 20,000 local businesses, community buildings, houses of worship and schools with health education materials and easy steps everyone can take to prevent bites,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, Director of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
“Vector control districts have been knocking doors, educating residents, and working tirelessly to eliminate mosquito breeding sites, but we can’t do it alone,” Truc Dever, General Manager, Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. “Mosquito-borne disease prevention is about shared responsibility, and we all must take action now to eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can breed in our own yards and use approved insect repellents when mosquitoes are present.
Together, we can make LA County mosquito-free and free of mosquito-borne diseases.”
“You can decrease the risk of mosquito-borne diseases by regularly using mosquito repellents containing EPA-registered ingredients such as DEET and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you are outdoors,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County.
Last week, 17 new cases of West Nile virus were reported in Los Angeles County, including three deaths among elderly patients who died due to neuro-invasive West Nile virus infection. The total number of West Nile virus cases and deaths in Los Angeles County this year is 98 cases and six deaths.
To date, no Zika virus infections have been acquired locally in Los Angeles County. However, the Aedes mosquito that can carry and spread Zika is present in some areas of the county posing a risk that infection could occur here.