West Nile virus reaches epidemic levels

DOWNEY - City officials are warning residents to take seriously the threat of West Nile virus, which has reached epidemic levels in Los Angeles County.In Downey, four mosquito samples and one dead bird have tested positive for the disease, officials with the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District said. Although no human cases have been reported in the city, officials said residents should protect themselves against the virus. "We encourage our residents to be proactive and take this matter seriously," said Mayor Luis Marquez. "The West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals through bites from infected mosquitoes and following (precautions) can help decrease exposure...and potentially help save lives." To guard against potentially-infected mosquitoes, vector officials said residents should keep their swimming pools and spas clean and properly maintained; eliminate standing water; avoid outdoor activity during dusk and dawn; use insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors. Residents should also report dead birds by calling (800) WNV-BIRD or online at westnile.ca.gov. Vacant or abandoned homes with stagnant pools or ponds should also be reported by calling (562) 944-9656. As of last week, 207 mosquitoes and 51 birds have tested positive for West Nile virus. For more information, contact vector control at (562) 944-9656 or go online to glacvcd.org.

********** Published: September 01, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 20