Residents Urged to Take Precautions Over July 4th Holiday as More WNV Activity Detected

The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) received confirmation of West Nile virus (WNV) in four additional mosquito samples and two dead birds collected in multiple jurisdictions in Whittier (90603), La Mirada (90638), Artesia (90701), Winnetka (91306), West Hills (91307), and Toluca Lake (91602). Residents planning to spend time outdoors during the 4thof July holiday are reminded of the importance of taking precautions against mosquito bites while doing so throughout Los Angeles County.

Infection with WNV is often mild, but the virus can cause significant cognitive and neurologic symptoms in some patients. Milder fever and body aches can progress to weakness, confusion, & paralysis which can take months to years of recovery.

“It’s not worth the risk,” said Kelly Middleton, Director of Community Affairs at GLACVCD. “We talk to people every year who tell us about their experiences with WNV. Even in milder cases, recovery can be quite difficult.”

Preventing mosquito bites is key. While enjoying the 4th of July, GLACVCD recommends residents:

  • Wear loose-fitting long sleeves and long pants to reduce mosquito bites. Light colors and tighter weave fabrics are best.
  • Apply mosquito repellents to exposed skin before going outdoors.  Clothing can also be treated with some products to prevent bites (read and follow all labels).
  • Take your repellent with you and reapply as recommended on the label.  How long a repellent works depends on the active ingredient and the concentration you select.
    • The Centers for Disease Control recommend products with the active ingredients   DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products as being safe and effective.
    • Use infant seat/stroller screen covers on babies younger than 2 months, and only EPA registered repellents on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children younger than 3 years of age.

Around the home, eliminating mosquitoes from properties is critical:

  • 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.
  • Check water collected in rain barrels and buckets as these can breed hundreds of mosquitoes every week. If larvae are detected, dump the water onto lawns where the immature mosquitoes will die (do not pour into gutters or streets), and discard or seal these containers against future mosquito problems.
  • Ensure swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained. Report inoperable pools to the GLACVCD at ReportMosquitoes.org or by calling 562-944-9656.

About West Nile virus:
According to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, West Nile virus is a leading cause of severe infections of the nervous system among adults older than age 50 in Los Angeles County.

WNV 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 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.