3 Lancaster women get West Nile Virus

WNV AV BirdsLANCASTER – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health just reported three human cases of West Nile Virus in Lancaster, according to the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District (AVMVCD).

The patients are all female, between the ages of 40 and 60. Two of them had to be hospitalized, but have been discharged and are recovering, the AVMVCD reports.

The AVMVCD also reports that more sentinel chickens, dead birds and mosquito samples in the Antelope Valley have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

“Yesterday’s fogging of the area in East Lancaster was able to decrease the mosquito population by 75 percent,” District Entomologist Karen Mellor said. “The trap numbers are still higher than what we would like them to be, and we will continue to monitor and survey the area to figure out where the source is.”

As a general precaution, residents are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites. To stay safe this holiday weekend, follow these tips:

  • Follow the 3 D’s (Drain, Dusk/Dawn, Defend/DEET);
  • Check your property for any standing water from sprinklers or thunder showers;
  • Turn on fans to keep mosquitoes away;
  • Keep screen doors and windows in good repair and close them; and
  • Don’t use bug zappers near your patio – they attract more mosquitoes than they kill.

West Nile Virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people that are infected do not show any symptoms, however, West Nile Virus is a potentially debilitating disease.

Even ‘mild’ cases of West Nile Fever can cause patients enormous pain and discomfort for months.

As of August 29, the California Department of Public Health has reported 87 human cases and five fatalities in California. Additionally, 903 birds, 1,562 mosquito samples, 229 chickens, eight horses, and five squirrels from 40 Counties have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

District officials urge residents to take individual responsibility, and remember the 3 D’s protect to 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.

For further questions or services, contact the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District at 661-942-2917 or visit www.avmosquito.org.

(Information via press release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District.)

Previous related stories:

West Nile Virus prompts mosquito spraying in Lancaster

Dead birds in Lancaster test positive for West Nile virus

Early detection of West Nile Virus in the Antelope Valley