The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District announced today that it has confirmed West Nile virus in a mosquito sample collected in Long Beach, urging residents to take precautions against mosquito bites when outdoors especially as warm temperatures can lead to an increase in mosquito activity.
While the date and exact location of the sample were not released, GLACVCD officials said it was collected in the 90808 zip code and that the confirmation confirms that mosquitos in Los Angeles County are actively carrying the virus and can infect people.
“Mosquitoes may seem inconsequential,” said Levy Sun, public information officer at GLACVCD, in a statement. “But their bites add the risk of becoming ill from a mosquito-borne virus, such as West Nile virus.”
Officials urged the public to use mosquito repellents to prevent bites and cited The Centers for Disease Control which recommends products with the active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus as being safe and effective against disease-transmitting mosquitoes. Wearing loose-fitting long sleeves and pants can also help deter bites.
Officials provided the following steps to help residents reduce the threat of WNV in their neighborhoods:
- Eliminate standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, watering troughs or anything that holds water for more than a week
- Ensure that swimming pools, spas, and ponds are properly maintained
- Change the water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers weekly
- Request FREE mosquitofish from your local vector control district for placement in ornamental ponds
- Wear insect repellent when outdoors where mosquitoes may be present
- Report neglected (green) swimming pools in your neighborhood to your vector control district
For more information, residents can contact the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at (562) 944-9656 or online at www.glacvcd.org.
The West Nile virus is a leading cause of severe infections of the nervous system among adults older than age 50 in the county, according to the county department of public health. It is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito and there is no cure.
One in five persons infected with the virus will exhibit symptoms that 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.