Vector ecologists with the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) confirmed the collection of a West Nile positive mosquito sample and the discovery of an infected dead bird in the city of Cerritos last week.
"This is a clear indication that although, in a traditional sense mosquito season should be winding down, West Nile virus activity is not yet tapering off," says Public Information Officer Cynthia Miller. "Early-fall weather in Southern California usually consists of a mix of rain and heat, which happens to be a perfect combination for mosquito breeding. For this reason, residents should continue to take necessary precautions in eliminating mosquito breeding sources around their homes, and protecting against mosquito bites."
Besides Cerritos, infected bird corpse were also found in nearby Bellflower and Downey, according to vector control officials.
2012 WNV Stats, Infections and Fatalities
So far this year, GLACVCD has identified a total of 220 WNV-positive mosquito samples, 56 WNV-positive dead birds, and five sentinel chickens within its jurisdiction. Statewide, a total of 2,541 mosquito samples, 1,456 dead birds, and 420 sentinel chickens have been identified as WNV-positive.
Thirty-four human cases of West Nile virus have been reported within GLACVCD jurisdiction this year, two of which have resulted in death. Statewide to date this year, there have been a total of 231 human cases of WNV, and ten WNV-related fatalities.
How Can I Protect Myself from WNV?
There are simple precautions and things residents need to know to reduce mosquito bites and the risk of West Nile virus infection, including:
- Know that many mosquitoes in Southern California are most active between dusk & dawn
- Warm weather triggers virus activity
- Wear long sleeve shirts and pants when working outdoors
- Use approved mosquito repellents (i.e. DEET or Picaridin products)
- Eliminate standing water
- Report mosquito breeding problems
West Nile Virus Facts
The West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no cure for West Nile virus. Approximately one in five people who are infected with West Nile virus will develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, or rash. Less than one percent will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. About 10 percent of people who develop neurologic infection due to West Nile virus will die.
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. To reach the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), call the toll-free hotline at 1-877-WNV BIRD or visit on-line at www.westnile.ca.gov.