LANCASTER – A dead Mockingbird found in Lancaster has tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (AVMVCD).
The bird was picked up by Los Angeles County veterinarian personnel on July 13 near 20th Street West and Lancaster Boulevard and samples were submitted to UC Davis for testing, AVMVCD said in a news release issued Tuesday.
“This is the first sign that West Nile Virus is active again in the Antelope Valley,” stated District Manager Cei Kratz. “WNV is endemic in the area and resurfaces at different times each year. August and September are typically the peak months for virus transmission.”
Recent mosquito trapping has identified a few areas of unusually high numbers of mosquitoes. So far the AVMVCD has submitted 93 mosquito samples for testing and none of them have shown any signs of virus. District personnel are conducting intensive searches of those areas, including door-to-door pool inspections in order to identify and treat any potential mosquito sources.
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. Though deaths are rare and typically involve patients who are already vulnerable, the virus can also cause paralysis, encephalitis and meningitis.
The District encourages residents to do their part to protect themselves from mosquito bites and West Nile Virus by following these recommendations:
- Check your property for standing water and get rid of it.
- Use CDC recommended insect repellents when outside during mosquito activity (DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535).
- Make sure your screen 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 July 27 reported that 167 dead birds, 480 mosquito samples, 11 sentinel chickens, and 12 humans tested positive for WNV in California. At this time last year, the virus had been detected in 116 dead birds, 1,125 mosquito samples, 34 sentinel chickens, as well as 6 human cases in California.
The AVMVCD is also asking for the public’s help in tracking down any occurrences of the invasive mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) in the Antelope Valley. These mosquitoes are able to transmit diseases like Zika virus and Dengue fever and have already been found in other areas of 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 they can do follow-up surveillance and find possible infestations.
To stay up-to-date on new West Nile Virus activity in the Antelope Valley and any mosquito-related information, visit www.avmosquito.org or call 661-942-2917.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District.]