West Nile Virus Activity Increasing: Conserve Water to Reduce Runoff and Mosquitoes

August 22, 2014

Santa Fe Springs, Calif. – As Los Angeles County struggles in drought conditions, the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) advises residents to conserve water around their homes to eliminate runoff – which can help reduce mosquito breeding and West Nile virus activity.

“Thousands of mosquitoes can thrive in clogged gutters and storm drains from overwatered yards,” says Levy Sun, public information officer for the vector control district. “Our habits must change since the drought and West Nile virus aren’t going away anytime soon.”

Residents are also urged to remove stagnant water around the home and wear insect repellent for protection when mosquitoes are active. This week, GLACVCD has confirmed West Nile virus (WNV) in 38 additional mosquito samples, two dead birds and four sentinel chickens.

So far this year, the District has reported a total of 120 positive mosquito samples and five dead birds. A total list of all positives can be found at www.GLACVCD.org.

In addition to conducting surveillance of mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit, the District controls populations of mosquitoes throughout its jurisdiction in Los Angeles County.

“Our staff is working hard to monitor and control mosquito populations, but we can’t do this alone,” says Sun. “We hope this will motivate residents to take precautions against mosquito bites. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to change your family’s life.”

West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no cure for West Nile virus. One in five persons infected with West Nile 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 weeks 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.

The public is encouraged to report dead birds to help with West Nile virus surveillance and control efforts because birds play an important role in maintaining and spreading the virus. Visit www.westnile.ca.gov to report dead birds. For more information, please contact the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at (562) 944- 9656 or visit www.glacvcd.org.