West Nile Virus Prevention Efforts Continue in San Fernando Valley

Neighborhood Door-to-Door Canvasing and Overnight Mosquito Treatment in Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area

Los Angeles, Calif. — In response to elevated West Nile virus (WNV) risk in the San Fernando Valley, vector control will conduct an early morning treatment in Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area on Wednesday, September 27 between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. In addition, beginning Thursday, September 28, vector control staff will conduct a door-to-door education campaign in Encino, Northridge, and Reseda where West Nile virus concerns are elevated.

Weather-permitting, on Wednesday, the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) will conduct truck-mounted, ultra-low volume fogging in the non-residential Sepulveda Basin recreation area. The treatment will target adult mosquitoes that may be carrying West Nile virus.

Mosquito surveillance data shows increased levels of WNV activity in the area. A dozen mosquito samples tested positive for WNV so far this year and sentinel chickens confirmed WNV virus activity in the area. In addition, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed multiple WNV human cases in the San Fernando Valley.

In addition to the concern for San Fernando Valley residents, officials warn that West Nile virus is widespread across the County. Residents planning to spend time outdoors are reminded of the importance of preventing mosquito bites and removing sources of standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs and develop. At this time of year, mosquito bite prevention is most important.

“Getting sick or dying from mosquito-borne diseases is a real threat here in Los Angeles County, but there are steps people can take to stay healthy and reduce the risks,” said Levy Sun, public information officer at GLACVCD. “The solution is simple: Use insect repellent, and tip and toss containers that can hold standing water.”

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, and paralysis which can take months to years of recovery, or even result in a patient’s death.

Preventing mosquito bites is key. GLACVCD offers the following tips:

  • Apply mosquito repellents to exposed skin before going outdoors.  Clothing can also be treated with permethrin products to prevent bites (read and follow all labels).
  • Use and reapply repellent 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 (CDC) recommends 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 children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children younger than three 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 provide 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, treat immediately with Bti products or dump the water onto lawns where the immature mosquitoes will die (do not pour into gutters or streets). 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.