Long Beach Public Health officials are urging residents to continue to be diligent in protecting themselves and their family from the West Nile Virus (WNV) due to the identification of mosquitoes infected with WNV in the central area of the city, near Chittick Field.
The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) Vector Control program is setting additional mosquito traps in the area and has posted warning signs surrounding Chittick Field. Long Beach Vector Control will continue to treat mosquito-breeding locations in the area on a weekly basis.
Although no human WNV infections have been detected in Long Beach thus far in 2010, Los Angeles and Orange counties have seen positive WNV activity in birds and mosquitoes, and there have been human cases of WNV in northern California this year.
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 symptoms, such as brain inflammation or paralysis. Persons with these symptoms should seek immediate care. Last year, there were 112 human cases of WNV in California, including four deaths.
With the detection of WNV so close to Long Beach and the arrival of hot summer weather creating an ideal environment for mosquito breeding, Health Department officials are urging residents to protect themselves and their families from the virus by taking the following precautions:
• Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
• Eliminate standing water on your property by dumping or draining water from neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or anything that can hold water. Dumping or draining water will interrupt the mosquito life cycle.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
• Use mosquito repellant containing DEET, Picaridin, or oil-of-lemon eucalyptus. Residents should follow repellant instructions on the label. Consult with a pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of 2.
• 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 Public Health by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD or online at westnile.ca.gov.