LANCASTER – A blood sample taken from a sentinel chicken in Palmdale has tested positive for Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE), according to the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District . The coop is located near 30th Street West and Avenue N-8 in Palmdale.
This is the first time in nearly 30 years that SLE has been detected in the Antelope Valley. In August of 1989, a 65-year-old man in the AV was diagnosed with the virus.
SLE is a mosquito-borne virus that is very similar to West Nile Virus, as it is transmitted by the same mosquito species. Most people infected with SLE will not develop symptoms. However, initial symptoms of those who become ill include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Severe neuroinvasive disease (often involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) occurs more commonly in older adults; and in rare cases, long-term disability or death can result, according to the CDC. [Read more about SLE here.]
Shortly after the introduction of West Nile Virus (WNV) to California in 2003, SLE was rarely detected. It reappeared in California in the Coachella Valley last year. So far this year SLE has been confirmed in one person, four sentinel chickens and 176 mosquito samples in California.
“This is another reminder that we need to be vigilant in our fight against mosquitoes and the diseases that they can spread,” said District Manager Cei Kratz. “Even with colder temperatures it’s still important to keep pools maintained or dry, remove standing water, and wear mosquito repellents at dusk and dawn.”
The Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District also reports three additional chickens have tested positive for West Nile Virus in two coops. These coops are located near Division and Avenue H-8 in Lancaster and 50th Street West and Avenue N in Palmdale.
This brings the total for WNV in the AV to 19 sentinel chickens, two dead birds and one mosquito sample.
The California Department of Public Health reports West Nile Virus activity from 38 counties in 1,322 dead birds, 3,438 mosquito samples, 323 sentinel chickens, as well as 327 human cases with 11 fatalities.
District officials are urging residents to follow these tips to avoid getting mosquito bites:
- 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 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 or contact the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District at 661-942-2917.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.]
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