LANCASTER – A Lancaster resident is the third person in the Antelope Valley to be infected with the mosquito-borne West Nile virus this year, local authorities said Monday.
The first human case of West Nile virus for 2015 was reported in late September. The second human case was reported in mid-October, when a middle-aged Lancaster man died due to complications from West Nile virus.
The Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District also reported Monday that two additional sentinel chickens that were sampled Oct. 28 tested positive for West Nile virus. The chickens were located at flocks that had showed virus activity in the past, District officials said. [View a map here.]
“The temperature spike and rain that we had in late September and mid-October were probably to blame for the virus transmission,” stated District Manager Cei Kratz. “Recent temperature drops have significantly decreased the virus activity, even though mosquitoes might still be around.”
Technicians from the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District are still checking for unkempt swimming pools and are finding some breeding.
They’re urging residents to remove standing water from around their homes to avoid mosquito habitat. When collecting water in barrels and buckets, it is important to cover them with screens to avoid mosquitoes from moving in, District officials said.
The California Department of Public Health on Nov. 6 reported West Nile virus activity in 40 counties in 1,254 dead birds, 3,261 mosquito samples, and 423 sentinel chickens, as well as 512 human cases with 32 fatalities. The total number of human cases in Los Angeles County to date is 153 with 12 fatalities.
In the Antelope Valley for 2015, West Nile virus activity has been reported in 24 chickens, two mosquito samples and three human cases, including one fatality.
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, 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: