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Public health officials urge residents to take precautions against West Nile Virus

July 22nd, 2011 · No Comments · Safety

West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in two dead crows in Long Beach for the first time this summer. According to the California Department of Public Health, this is the first sign of WNV in Long Beach this year. Although no human cases have been reported in Long Beach this year, WNV activity has been detected in 12 counties in California, including positive birds and mosquitoes in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
WNV is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of WNV may include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache. Most people infected have no symptoms; approximately one in 150 may develop more serious disease, such as brain inflammation or paralysis. Persons with these symptoms should seek immediate care.  
The onset of hot summer weather has created an ideal environment for mosquito breeding, and with the detection of WNV, public health officials at the City of Long Beach are urging residents to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites. Dr. Helene Calvet, city health officer, is encouraging all residents to take the following precautions:
• Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
• Mosquitoes can breed in standing water.  Eliminate standing water on property by draining water from neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or another over vessel that can hold water.
• Use mosquito repellant containing N, N -Diethyl- meta -toluamide (DEET), Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Residents should follow repellant instructions on the label. Consult with your child’s pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of two.        
• Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes and check to make sure window screens are in good condition.
• Maintain all swimming pools in a clean and sanitary manner, with all circulation and filtration equipment operational and chemical levels within recommended guidelines; drain water from pool covers.
• Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to twice a week to avoid run-off to gutters and around sprinklers. Do not overwater plants or lawns to avoid creating pools of standing water.
• Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Health Services by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD or online at westnile.ca.gov.
For more information, call (562) 570-4132 or visit longbeach.gov/health/wnv_info/resource.asp or cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile.

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