Mosquitos carrying the West Nile Virus have now been found in Arleta and Mission Hills, according to officials from the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD).
Spokeswoman Kelly Middleton said it was confirmed on Aug. 14 that traps recently collected in both locations each revealed at least one mosquito with the virus.
Other confirmations of infected mosquitos in Valley areas this year include Canoga Park, Chatsworth, West Hills and Winnetka.
“Mosquitos don’t fly very far. But just because we found them in those areas doesn’t mean they aren’t in other areas,” Middleton said. “We assume [their presence] is widespread in Los Angeles County.”
So far this year, the district has reported a total of 82 positive mosquito samples and five dead birds. In addition to conducting surveillance of mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit, the GLACVCD controls populations of mosquitoes throughout its jurisdiction in Los Angeles County.
Middleton said GLACVCD has 96 trap sites in the 34 cities of its service area, which stretches from San Fernando to Long Beach. The trap sites are monitored and examined every two weeks from spring to fall.
“These results are indicative of widespread WNV activity throughout the county,” Middleton said. “We hope this will motivate residents to take precautions against mosquito bites. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to change your family’s life.”
She expects other infected mosquitos will be found “because this is the peak season for West Nile Virus transmission,” Middleton said. “People need to be vigilant now into November.”
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, which 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.
GLACVCD recommends that residents should remove dirty, stagnant water from containers where mosquitoes breed. Some common breeding sources include buckets, birdbaths and plant saucers. In the right conditions, hundreds of mosquitoes can emerge from breeding sources as biting adults in as little as five days.
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. For more information, contact the the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at (562) 944-9656, or visit www.glacved.org.