LANCASTER – One of nine mosquito samples submitted to UC Davis by the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District has tested positive for West Nile Virus, authorities announced Thursday.
The mosquito sample was collected near 20th Street East and Lancaster Boulevard, and it is the first sign of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes in the Antelope Valley this year.
“This is another reminder that West Nile Virus is active in the Antelope Valley,” stated District Manager Cei Kratz. “When mosquitoes test positive for WNV it means that people are at higher risk of being infected with the disease.”
People bitten by an infected mosquito may develop West Nile fever and experience flu-like symptoms that can include fever, body aches, skin rash, and fatigue, according to Kratz. In some people, West Nile fever can develop into a more serious form of the disease.
The AVMVCD urges people to remove any stagnant water around the yard, since that’s where mosquitoes will lay eggs and the larvae will hatch. Unmaintained swimming pools and other water sources that hold water for more than a week can breed thousands of mosquitoes in a very short time, officials said.
The California Department of Public Health as of July 14 reported West Nile Virus in 71 dead birds, 681 mosquito samples, and 17 sentinel chickens in California. They have also reported four human cases of West Nile Virus in the Los Angeles, Kern, Kings, and San Bernardino counties.
For a map of local West Nile Virus activity as of July 20, click here.
Authorities are urging residents to follow these tips to avoid getting mosquito bites and West Nile virus infection:
- Check your property for any standing water from sprinklers or thunder showers, and dump or drain all standing water.
- Keep swimming pools maintained or completely dry.
- Dress in light-colored long-sleeved clothes during mosquito activity. Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn.
- Defend against mosquitoes by use repellents (i.e., DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535).
- Keep screen doors and windows in good repair and close them.
- Turn on fans to keep mosquitoes away.
- Don’t use bug zappers near your patio – they attract more mosquitoes than they kill.
- Vaccinate your horses properly.
- Report stagnant pools and other backyard sources to the AVMVCD at 661-942-2917.
- Report dead birds by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
To stay up-to-date on West Nile Virus activity and mosquito-related information in the Antelope Valley, visit www.avmosquito.org or contact the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District at 661-942-2917.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District.]
Previous related story: West Nile Virus detected in sentinel chicken flocks in the AV