West Nile virus is continuing to spread across the Southland, with vector-control officials announcing Monday that the virus was detected for the first time this year in six areas.
According to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, West Nile virus activity was recently detected in Carson, La Habra Heights, Lincoln Heights, Newhall, Tarzana and Willowbrook.
District officials said 40 recent mosquito samples tested positive for the virus, which was also confirmed in five sentinel chickens.
So far this year, West Nile virus has been detected in 138 mosquito samples in the area, and 33 dead birds were confirmed to have the virus.
“West Nile virus is a quiet, buzzing threat in our own backyards,” said Levy Sun of the Vector Control District. “Getting rid of standing water to prevent mosquito breeding is a key to reducing the risk of West Nile virus.”
Los Angeles County health officials last month confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus this year, and a human case was reported in Orange County last week.
Symptoms of West Nile may never materialize, but can include fever, headache, nausea, body aches, skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes.
Mosquitoes typically become carriers of the virus after feeding on an infected bird and can then spread the potentially lethal strain to animals and humans.
To reduce exposure to West Nile virus, residents are urged to:
— limit outdoor activity at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are generally on the move;
— wear pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors;
— use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or products containing IR3535;
— ensure door and window screens are in good condition and fitted properly to keep bugs out; and
— get rid of standing water — aside from pools properly treated with chemicals — to reduce areas in which mosquitoes may breed, including flower pots and pet bowls.
–City News Service