LANCASTER – Despite cooler temperatures, the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District has detected West Nile Virus as well as St. Louis Encephalitis in sentinel chickens and trapped mosquitoes, the agency announced Wednesday.
There have been seven reported cases of people infected with West Nile Virus in the Antelope Valley, and West Nile Virus has been found in 24 sentinel chickens, six mosquito samples and two dead birds, officials said. [View a map of West Nile Virus activity in the Antelope Valley as of Oct. 11 here.] Additionally, two chickens have been infected with St. Louis encephalitis (SLE).
“SLE is similar to WNV and was displaced when WNV first arrived in the AV,” stated District Manager Cei Kratz. “The past couple of years it has been returning to the area, and we have seen more infections in our sentinel chickens.”
Since both viruses are mosquito-borne and have no cure, District officials are urging local residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
The District gives the following advice:
- Use CDC approved insect repellents when outside during mosquito activity (DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535).
- Check property after each thunderstorm for standing water and get rid of it.
- Make sure your screens on windows and doors are in good repair.
- Check around faucets and air conditioner units, and repair leaks or puddles that remain for several days.
- 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.
The California Department of Public Health as of Oct. 6 reported West Nile Virus in 449 dead birds, 3,234 mosquito samples, 282 sentinel chickens, and 17 horses. Health officials also reported 258 human cases and 12 fatalities.
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 teams can do follow up surveillance and find possible infestations.
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 stories: