Mosquito tests positive for West Nile virus

SANTA FE SPRINGS – Fires are not the only thing affecting public health this week. The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) has confirmed the first West Nile virus (WNV) positive mosquito sample in Los Angeles County for 2014.

The sample of mosquitoes was collected in Sherman Oaks (zip code 91403).  Statewide, there have been additional positive mosquito samples reported in San Bernardino and Sonoma counties this year.

“This is an unfortunate reminder that West Nile virus continues to be a problem here in Los Angeles County,” said Kelly Middleton, community affairs director for the district. “We can anticipate more activity as the season progresses.”

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 5-15 days and 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.

“The threat is real and cannot be underestimated,” said Levy Sun, the district’s public information officer. “Despite the drought, the warm weather and neglected water sources - such as swimming pools and flowerpot saucers - have provided perfect conditions for mosquitoes to thrive.”

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 reminded residents that even the smallest of breeding sources can contribute to a large public health problem within the Greater Los Angeles County area.

Residents can 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 free mosquitofish from your local vector control district for placement in ornamental ponds

* Report mosquito activity near vacant or foreclosed homes to your vector control district

* Report neglected (green) swimming pools in your neighborhood to your vector control district



Published: May 22, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 06