The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) has confirmed the first West Nile virus (WNV)-positive mosquito sample in Los Angeles for the year. The mosquitoes were collected in Studio City. Statewide, there has been one additional WNV-positive mosquito sample reported in Riverside County this year.
This year’s weather pattern of rainfall followed by warm temperatures has produced ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes. “We anticipate a busy mosquito season this summer,” said public information officer Crystal Brown. “The heightened level of rainfall this year means that there is probably an increased number of mosquito breeding sources in residents’ backyards.”
Brown said that rainwater left standing for more than one week in containers like flower pots, fountains and pet dishes provides the perfect breeding habitat for mosquitoes. GLACVCD would like to remind residents that small breeding sources can contribute to a large mosquito breeding problem because there are millions of back yards 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 the local vector control district for placement in out-of-order swimming pools, spas, and ponds
• Report mosquito activity near vacant or foreclosed homes
• Report neglected (green) swimming pools in your neighborhood
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 five and 15 days and can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or a skin rash. These symptoms can last for several weeks 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.
GLACVCD recommends that individuals exhibiting these symptoms following a mosquito bite consult a physician as soon as possible. Those at highest risk for severe cases of West Nile virus are the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
The public is encouraged to report dead birds to help with West Nile virus surveillance and control efforts because birds play an important role in maintaining and spreading the virus.
To reach the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), call their toll-free hotline at 877-WNV BIRD or visit westnile.ca.gov.