LANCASTER – The presence of St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected from 8th Street East and Avenue J-6 in Lancaster, according to the Antelope Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District.
Similar to West Nile virus, St. Louis Encephalitis is a viral infection spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. The initial symptoms of those who become ill include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness. Severe neuro-invasive disease (often involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) can occur more commonly in older adults. In rare cases, long-term disability or death can result.
There are no vaccines to prevent SLE nor medications to treat it. Medical care after contracting this viral disease is supportive and is based on symptoms. SLE reemerged in California in 2015 after being undetected for 12 years. It has since been increasing throughout the state, and was detected in the Antelope Valley in sentinel chickens during both the 2016 and 2017 mosquito season.
This 2019 detection of SLE is the first detection in a mosquito sample in the Antelope Valley. It is also the first detection in Los Angeles County as a whole for the 2019 mosquito season.
AVMVCD personnel increased mosquito surveillance in the area and will continue to place traps in order to monitor the mosquito population. There also was a mosquito sample that tested positive for West Nile virus near 11th Street East and Avenue K-8 in Lancaster, bringing the total to six West Nile virus positives in the Antelope Valley this year.
AVMVCD is urging residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites by following these recommendations:
- Wear EPA registered ingredients, such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to exposed skin and/or clothing (as directed on the product label).
- Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when mosquitoes are most active.
- Be sure window and door screens are in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.
- Inspect yards for standing water sources and drain water that may have collected under potted plants, in bird baths, discarded tires, and any other items that could collect water.
- Check your rain gutters and lawn drains to make sure they aren’t holding water and debris.
- Ensure pools are cleaned and maintained or completely dry.
To stay up-to-date on any mosquito-related information, visit www.avmosquito.org. For further questions or services, contact the Antelope Valley
Mosquito & Vector Control District at 661-942-2917.
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District.]