The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) has confirmed 13 additional mosquito samples that tested positive for West Nile virus on Monday, bringing the total number to 76 within the district’s area.
In the latest update, the district detected the first positive samples in the communities of Canoga Park, Downey, Eagle Rock and Winnetka. The City of San Fernando has one positive sample, Reseda and Van Nuys have three, Panorama City and North Hills have five and Granada Hills has seven — the highest number of positive samples found within the district.
West Nile virus, the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the US, is endemic to Los Angeles County. Most cases of the virus occur during mosquito season, which begins in the summer and continues through fall. There are currently no vaccines or medications to treat the virus.
Although most people who contract the virus will experience no symptoms, seniors and those who are immunocompromised may experience severe symptoms, even death.
To experts, the best way to combat West Nile virus is to reduce the threat of mosquitos in your neighborhood and lower the risk of you getting infected.
“The best method is to wear insect repellent that has an active ingredient that is recommended by the CDC that helps prevent mosquito bites,” said Anais Medina Diaz, public information officer for GLAVCD. “Another thing to do is to wear long sleeves or loose clothing when they’re outdoors during dusk and dawn. … Lastly, I would recommend just getting rid of any standing water.”
Diaz said that insect repellants should have one of four ingredients to be most effective: DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Standing water, where mosquitoes lay their eggs, can be found in places like clogged gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, buckets, pet dishes, bird baths or any other item that can hold water for more than a week. Eliminating standing water reduces the risk of mosquitoes breeding near your area.
You should also report any neglected swimming pools in your neighborhood (which will appear green in color) to your vector control district.
Diaz also said that there is a concern that mosquito season could go on for longer if the warm temperatures keep up, so it’s vital to take precautions.
“West Nile virus occurs every year, so it’s really important to take preventative steps,” Diaz said. “They don’t travel far, so if you’re being aggressively bitten, either you have sources in your yard or even inside your home or your neighbor does. … Mosquito control is really a shared responsibility.”
For more information, residents can contact the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at 562-944-9656, online at www.GLAmosquito.org.
To find CDC-recommended insect repellents, go to https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.