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 2016.
The sample of mosquitoes was collected in a mosquito trap in Sun Valley (zip code 91352). The confirmation means that mosquito populations in Los Angeles County are actively carrying the virus and can infect people.
“This is a reminder that the mosquito ‘season’ isn’t limited to just summer,” says Kelly Middleton, Community Affairs Director for the GLACVCD.
This confirmation comes during California West Nile Virus and Mosquito and Vector Control Awareness Week. Vector control urges residents to plan ahead for a bite-free summer. This is a reminder that mosquito threats can hit close to home.
“It’s great that the public is informed about Zika,” says Levy Sun, the District’s public information officer. “But we can’t forget that, every year, West Nile virus is a more serious threat to Southern Californian families.”
West Nile virus 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 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 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.
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 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
- Wear insect repellent when outdoors where mosquitoes may be present
- Report neglected (green) swimming pools in your neighborhood to your vector control district