San Fernando Valley Residents Urged to Take Action Against West Nile Virus

September 24, 2014

Santa Fe Springs, Calif. – The continued threat of West Nile virus (WNV) in San Fernando Valley prompted the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) to remind residents to take the necessary precautions against mosquitoes and to report any issues to vector control.

GLACVCD conducts disease surveillance and controls mosquito populations in the region. The vector control agency confirmed that West Nile virus activity is higher in the San Fernando Valley compared to the rest of the District. Some communities, such as Canoga Park, Sherman Oaks and Encino, have nine or more West Nile virus positive mosquito samples so far this year.

“We have been promptly responding to resident service requests and conducting control efforts for mosquitoes,” said Levy Sun, GLACVCD’s public information officer. “Since a majority of mosquito breeding sources are in people’s backyards, we can’t do this alone; this is a shared responsibility.”

The District recommends people use mosquito repellents where mosquitoes are present. Effective repellents contain EPA-registered active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.

“In addition to personal protection against mosquitoes, dumping and draining stagnant water from outdoor containers is a simple, yet very effective measure,” said Sun. “Also, reducing runoff from overwatering in the yard can prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in stagnant water.”

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.

Residents experiencing mosquito problems or who wish to report dirty, green pools can contact the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at (562) 944-9656 or visit www.ReportMosquitoes.org.