LANCASTER – Two human cases of West Nile Virus in the western parts of the Antelope Valley were reported to the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, the agency announced Friday.
One person fell ill in early July, the other person got sick in late July, and both were hospitalized due to the severity of the disease, officials said.
“Even though most people who are infected with West Nile Virus do not show any symptoms, some can develop illness that can range from fever and body aches to severe symptoms affecting the central nervous system,” said District Manager Cei Kratz. “Most people don’t take it serious until they are personally affected or know someone who is.”
The AVMVCD has also detected the virus in chickens from a flock near 45th Street West and Avenue L in Quartz Hill, and in chickens from a flock near 30th Street West and Avenue N-8 in Palmdale. This brings the total number of WNV positives in the AV to 14 chickens, one mosquito sample, and two human cases, according to the AVMVCD.
Residents should remove stagnant water from around their yards, since that’s where mosquitoes lay eggs. Birdbaths, water fountains, small toys or trash bags left outside may retain water from sprinklers, making them a potential mosquito source, officials said.
The California Department of Public Health as of Aug. 18 reported West Nile Virus in 171 dead birds, 1,814 mosquito samples, and 58 sentinel chickens in California. Health authorities also reported 41 human cases of West Nile Virus in nine California counties.
The AVMVCD is seeking the public’s help in tracking down any occurrences of invasive mosquitoes, such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, in the Antelope Valley. These mosquitoes transmit diseases like Zika virus and Dengue fever and have already been found in Southern California and the Central Valley – as close as the San Fernando Valley.
The District urges residents to report mosquitoes that bite during the day so authorities can conduct follow up surveillance to find possible infestations.
Authorities 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 stagnant 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 & Vector Control District.]
Previous related stories: