LANCASTER – Fourth of July means barbecues and outdoor get-togethers with family and friends. The Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District is reminding residents to stay safe during celebrations, not only from fireworks and the sun, but from mosquitoes and the diseases they are able to transmit.
The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat watch for the latter part of this week, which will create ideal conditions for mosquito breeding, according to AVMVCD officials.
“Just as we use sun screen to protect ourselves from the dangers of sun, we need to use insect repellents to stay safe from mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile Virus,” stated District Manager Cei Kratz. “Our local mosquitoes are most active as the sun goes down and we get ready to watch the fireworks shows. This is when we need to be especially diligent about applying mosquito repellents.”
So far the AVMVCD has submitted 61 mosquito samples for testing and none of them have shown any signs of virus. Nevertheless, the District is urging residents to do their part to protect themselves from mosquito bites by following these recommendations:
- Use CDC approved insect repellents when outside during mosquito activity (DEET, Picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535)
- Check property for standing water and get rid of it.
- Make sure screen on windows and doors are in good repair.
- Check around faucets and air conditioner units, and repair leaks or puddles that remain for several days.
- 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.
The California Department of Public Health as of June 29 reported that 35 dead birds, 47 mosquito samples, and nine humans tested positive for West Nile Virus in California. This time last year the virus had been detected in 39 dead birds, 412 mosquito samples, one sentinel chicken, and three human cases.
The AVMVCD is also asking for the public’s help in tracking down any occurrences of the invasive mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) in the Antelope Valley. These mosquitoes are able to transmit diseases like Zika virus and Dengue fever and have already been found in other areas of Southern California and the Central Valley – as close as the San Fernando Valley.
The District is urging residents to report mosquitoes that bite during the day so they can do follow up surveillance and find possible infestations.
To stay up-to-date on new West Nile Virus activity in the Antelope Valley and any mosquito related information, visit www.avmosquito.org or contact the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District at 661-942-2917.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.]