While hundreds of families are firing up their grills this holiday weekend, the heat of summer continues to flame West Nile virus activity. The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) confirmed additional West Nile virus (WNV) activity in Porter Ranch, San Fernando and Valley Village.
“It only takes one bite from a mosquito to get a mosquito-borne disease,” said Levy Sun, the district’s public information officer. “However, residents can prevent mosquito bites by eliminating the very thing mosquitoes need to lay their eggs: Standing water.”
Improperly maintained swimming or wading pools can breed thousands of mosquitoes per day. Ponds, fountains, rain barrels, and other containers will contribute large numbers of mosquitoes to a neighborhood, and directly increase the risk of WNV transmission to people through the summer. Higher temperatures speed up both the mosquito life cycle and replication of the virus in mosquitoes and wild birds.
To prevent mosquito breeding, vector control recommends eliminating all standing water sources from properties, and reporting mosquito problems and inoperable swimming pools/ponds to the District promptly.
Vector control advises residents to avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent anytime they are outdoors. Effective repellents contain EPA-registered active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Residents should also dump and drain any standing water around the home. This prevents mosquitoes from laying their eggs in any container that can hold stagnant water.
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. Symptoms 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.
Residents experiencing mosquito problems during the day or at night, even after dumping all standing water, can receive help from the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at (562) 944-9656 or visit www.ReportMosquitoes.org.