LANCASTER – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday reported the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in the Antelope Valley for 2014. Due to HIPAA privacy laws, the patient’s identity or city of residence cannot be released to the public, according to officials at the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District.
The Antelope Valley case brings the total to 59 human infections with three fatalities in Los Angeles County so far this year. The ages of the patients range from 24 to 89 years.
To date 26 sentinel chickens, five dead birds, and four mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus in the Antelope Valley.View a map showing the locations of the positive chickens, birds and mosquito samples in the Antelope Valley here.
“Even though today is the first day of autumn, the mosquito season isn’t over yet,” said District Manager Cei Kratz. “Our season typically runs through the end of October, when the weather usually turns colder. We urge residents to continue to be vigilant and remove standing water around their property.”
West Nile virus is a potentially debilitating disease that’s transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Even ‘mild’ cases of West Nile fever can cause patients enormous pain and discomfort for months.
The first human death attributed to West Nile virus infection in the Antelope Valley was reported last year. The victim was a West Lancaster man in his 70s who was hospitalized with encephalitis in late September 2013 and died shortly thereafter.
District officials urge residents to prevent exposure to mosquito bites and West Nile virus by practicing the “Three Ds”:
- DRAIN all standing water – Empty 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.
Also remember to:
- Check your property for any standing water from sprinklers or thunder showers.
- Turn on fans to keep mosquitoes away.
- Keep tight fitting screens on doors and windows in good repair. Close them to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
- Avoid using bug zappers near your patio – they attract more mosquitoes than they kill
- Get free mosquito-eating fish (Gambusia affinis) for fish ponds, pools, and horse troughs.
- Vaccinate horses properly.
- 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.
- To date, 26 sentinel chickens, five dead birds, and four mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus in the Antelope Valley.
For further questions or services, contact the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District at 661-942-2917.
[Information via press release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District.]
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