LANCASTER –A mosquito sample collected in Palmdale near 20th Street East and Avenue Q has tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. This is the first positive mosquito sample in the area this year, officials said.
District staff collects mosquitoes in different areas of the Antelope Valley each week and sends the samples to UC Davis for testing.
“Although the nights have been getting cooler lately, it’s important that people still take precautions against mosquitoes and the diseases they can transmit,” stated District Manager Cei Kratz.
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.
Last month, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported the first human cases of West Nile virus in the Antelope Valley for 2016 — a male blood donor from Lancaster with no symptoms and a female resident of Palmdale who fell ill. [Read more here.]
The California Department of Public Health reports West Nile Virus activity from 37 counties in 1,276 dead birds, 3,249 mosquito samples, 296 sentinel chickens, as well as 234 human cases with five fatalities.
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. Keep swimming pools maintained or completely dry.
- 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).
- Keep screen doors and windows in good repair and close them.
- Turn on fans to keep mosquitoes away.
- Don’t use bug zappers near your patio – they attract more mosquitoes than they kill.
- Vaccinate your horses properly.
- Report dirty pools and other backyard sources to the AVMVCD at 661-942-2917.
- Report dead birds by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or online atwww.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 or contact the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District at 661-942-2917.
No evidence of Zika virus mosquito in AV
Los Angeles County Public Health officials have identified 69 people with Zika virus, but no cases of “local transmission” in California. Those infected traveled to areas where the virus is endemic, according to health officials.
Zika virus is another mosquito-borne virus that is transmitted from one person to another. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. The Zika virus is primarily spread by infected mosquitoes, specifically the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).
Those mosquito species have been found in other areas of Los Angeles County, but there is no evidence of them in the Antelope Valley at this time, local health officials said. Residents are urged to report any day-time mosquito activity to the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, so staff can inspect the area to see if those are the invasive Aedes species.
For more detailed information about the Zika virus visit www.cdc.gov/zika or http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Zika.aspx.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.]
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