LANCASTER – The Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District has detected increasing activity of West Nile Virus in the Antelope Valley, authorities announced Friday.
One person from Lancaster was hospitalized in early August and then diagnosed with meningitis due to West Nile Virus; and blood samples from five sentinel chicken flocks and one mosquito sample tested positive for West Nile Virus, as well, according to a news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (AVMVCD).
The chicken flocks that were positive are located near 40th Street East and Avenue K in Lancaster, and near 30th Street West and Avenue N-8 in Palmdale. The positive mosquito sample was collected near 25th Street East and Avenue J in Lancaster, AVMVCD officials said. [View a map here.]
“This is the time of year when we usually see a spike in West Nile Virus,” stated District Manager Cei Kratz. “The summer heat makes mosquitoes and the virus develop faster. This means we all need to take extra precautions to reduce our risk of infection.”
Precautions include removing any stagnant water from around the yard, especially unmaintained swimming pools, since that’s where mosquitoes lay eggs. To reduce the chances of getting mosquito bites, the District recommends using mosquito repellents that are deemed safe and effective by CDC (DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535), and keeping screens on windows and doors in good repair.
The California Department of Public Health as of Aug. 22 reported that 203 dead birds, 2,040 mosquito samples, and 92 sentinel chickens tested positive for West Nile Virus in California. Health officials also reported 41 human cases of West Nile Virus in nine counties.
The AVMVCD is seeking the public’s help in tracking down any occurrences of invasive mosquitoes, such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, in the Antelope Valley. These mosquitoes transmit diseases like Zika virus and Dengue fever and have already been found in Southern California and the Central Valley – as close as the San Fernando Valley.
The District urges residents to report mosquitoes that bite during the day so authorities can conduct follow up surveillance to find possible infestations.
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.]
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