LANCASTER – The Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District was notified that one chicken from a sentinel flock in Rancho Vista tested positive for West Nile Virus, officials announced Thursday. This is the first sign of the mosquito-borne disease in the AV for 2015.
“This is the latest in the season that West Nile Virus has been detected,” said District Manager Cei Kratz. “Usually we start to see the virus show up in May or June.”
West Nile Virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people who are infected do not show any symptoms, however, West Nile Virus is a potentially debilitating disease. Even ‘mild’ cases of West Nile fever can cause patients enormous pain and discomfort for months. Older adults and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk for complications than others. In 2013, West Nile Virus contributed to the death of a West Lancaster man in his 70s. [Read more here.]
District officials 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.
- 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).
- Turn on fans to keep mosquitoes away.
- Keep screen doors and windows in good repair and close them.
- Don’t use 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 your 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.
The California Department of Public Health, as of Aug. 19, reported West Nile Virus activity from 38 counties in 446 dead birds, 1,577 mosquito samples, and 104 sentinel chickens, as well as 36 human cases with two deaths.
To stay up-to-date on West Nile Virus activity and mosquito-related information in the Antelope Valley, visit www.avmosquito.org.
For more information, call 661-942-2917.