LANCASTER – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has reported the first human case of West Nile Virus in the Antelope Valley for 2015. HIPAA laws prevent officials from disclosing any information on the local human case. The total number of human cases in Los Angeles County to date is 50 with four deaths.
The Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District also reports that six additional sentinel chickens tested positive for the virus this week, bringing the total West Nile Virus activity in the Antelope Valley to 22 chickens, two mosquito samples and one human case.
“This human infection is a sad reminder that we all need to do our part to reduce the mosquito populations and take precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” stated District Manager Cei Kratz. “Our technicians are checking and treating standing water in ditches, basins and curb and gutters, as well as unmaintained pools all-around town, but each individual can help by removing standing water on their property and either maintain or drain pools to avoid mosquito breeding.”
“Mosquito control is a shared responsibility and we all have a role to play in our community,” said Board President Dennis Persons.
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.]
The California Department of Public Health, as of Sept. 23, reported West Nile Virus activity from 40 counties in 902 dead birds, 2,668 mosquito samples, and 269 sentinel chickens, as well as 157 human cases with 5 fatalities.
Tips to avoid mosquito bites, West Nile Virus infection
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.
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.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.]
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