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First West Nile Virus Positive Mosquitoes in California Confirmed in LA County for 2015

Los Angeles, Calif. —The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) has confirmed the first West Nile virus (WNV) positive mosquito sample in Los Angeles County for 2015 – the first in the state.

The sample of mosquitoes was collected on March 18 in Sylmar (zip code 91342).  Last year, GLACVCD confirmed the first WNV positive mosquito sample in May, which makes this year’s confirmation about two months early.

“This is a reminder that the mosquito season isn’t limited to just summer,” says Kelly Middleton, Community Affairs Director for the GLACVCD.  “This year’s warm winter has likely contributed to early WNV activity and may be indicative of increased risk in the Valley this summer. Our residents need to understand this and take actions now to reduce their risks.”

West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.  There is no cure for WNV.  One in five persons infected with the virus will exhibit symptoms.  Symptoms usually occur between five and 15 days and can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or a skin rash.  These symptoms can last for several days to months.  One in 150 people infected with the virus will require hospitalization.  Severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma, paralysis, and possibly death.

“People may think mosquitoes have gone away due to the drought, but that’s just not true,” says Levy Sun, the District’s public information officer. “Neglected artificial water sources – such as swimming pools and flower pot saucers –provide perfect environments for mosquitoes to thrive in our cities.”

Any water left standing for more than one week in containers such as flower pots, fountains and pet dishes provides the perfect breeding habitat for mosquitoes.  GLACVCD would like to remind residents that even the smallest water source can contribute to a large public health problem within the Greater Los Angeles County area.

Residents can take an active role in reducing the threat of WNV in their neighborhoods by taking the following steps:

• Eliminate standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs or anything that holds water for more than a week
• Ensure that swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained
• Change the water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers weekly
• Request FREE mosquitofish from your local vector control district for placement in ornamental ponds
• Report mosquito activity near vacant or foreclosed homes to your vector control district
• Report neglected (green) swimming pools in your neighborhood to your vector control district
For more information, residents can contact the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at 818-364-9589 or online at www.glacvcd.org.

 

Media Contacts:
Levy Sun, Public Information Officer: [email protected]
Office: 562-944-9656 x511, Cell: 562-325-3271

Kelly Middleton, Director of Community Affairs: [email protected]
Office: 562-944-9656 x510, Cell: 562-777-4584

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