LANCASTER– The Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District (AVMVCD) received confirmation from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that one of the sentinel chickens in West Lancaster has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). The coop is located near 15th Street West and Avenue I.
“This is the earliest detection of WNV that we have had in the Antelope Valley for several years”, said District Entomologist Karen Mellor. “And in those years we had high infection rates. “
District Manager Cei Kratz advises residents to conduct routine property inspections for mosquito-breeding sources. Look for any standing water around your house or neighborhood and either remove the water source or contact the District to inspect the potential mosquito-breeding source, Kratz advises.
Mosquitoes can complete their life cycle in just one week in a water source as small as a bottle cap, she said.
So far this year, the West Nile Virus has been detected in 10 dead birds and 15 mosquito samples from nine counties in California. The CDPH has also reported one fatality due to WNV in a man in Sacramento County.
Residents are encouraged to report any dead birds to the California West Nile Virus Hotline at 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov. Not all birds will be tested, but the data of dead bird clusters is vital in tracking and controlling the virus.
West Nile Virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Although most people that are infected do not show any symptoms, West Nile Virus is a potentially debilitating disease. Even ‘mild’ cases of West Nile Fever can cause patients enormous pain and discomfort for months.
District officials urge residents to take individual responsibility, and remember the 3 D’s protect yourself and your family from West Nile Virus:
- DRAIN all standing water. Empty out small containers at least once a week, keep pools and spas chlorinated or drained, and repair all water leaks. Conserve water and prevent mosquito breeding.
- DUSK and DAWN are peak activity times for mosquitoes.
- DEFEND yourself. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants and use mosquito repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or IR3535 when outdoors during mosquito activity. Always follow instructions on the product label. Keep tight fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes.
Also remember to:
- Get FREE mosquito-eating fish (Gambusia affinis) for fish ponds, pools, and horse troughs.
- Vaccinate your horses properly.
- Report stagnant pools and other backyard sources to the AVMVCD.
- Report dead birds by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
For any further questions or services, contact the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District 661-942-2917 or visit www.avmosquito.org.
(Information via press release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District.)