What to know
- The mosquitoes were collected from a trap in Hacienda Heights.
- As the temperature rises, so do mosquito populations and disease risk, which is a serious public health threat in our communities, says vector control.
- Serious symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, coma, paralysis and possibly death.
Los Angeles County’s first West Nile virus positive mosquito samples of the season were reported Monday, while vector control in Palm Desert also reported mosquito samples testing positive for WNV and St. John̵
The larger Los Angeles County Vector Control District said the mosquitoes were collected from a trap in Hacienda Heights, where populations of adult mosquitoes and test groups of adult female mosquitoes are routinely monitored for the presence of WNV and other mosquito-borne viruses.
“This discovery should serve as a reminder that WNV is endemic in Los Angeles County,” said Susanne Kluh, director of Scientific-Technical Services at GLACVCD. “As the temperature rises, so do mosquito populations and disease risk, which pose a serious public health risk to our communities.”
Protesters protested around the world over the weekend to reject the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
West Nile virus had also been detected in mosquitoes collected from traps in Palm Desert, reports Coachella Valley Mosquitoes and the Vector Control District.
Just one week before mosquitoes tested positive for St. Louis Encephalite in La Quinta.
WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through an infected mosquito. There is no cure and one in five infected individuals will exhibit symptoms that may include fever, headache, pain in the body, nausea or rash. The symptoms can last for several days to months. One in 150 people infected with the virus will need hospitalization. Serious symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, stiff neck, coma, paralysis and possibly death.
The late rainfall along with warmer temperatures have contributed to increased mosquito activity in Southland communities, according to the Vector Control District.
“Our agency will continue to monitor disease activity and treat affected areas,” said Mary-Joy Coburn, director of community affairs for GLACVCD. “Even though the positive mosquitoes were collected in one area right now, all LA County residents should take precautions, such as carrying insecticides and eliminating standing water around the home. ”
Many mosquitoes are available to prevent bites, but they do not all work equally well. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends products with the active ingredients DEET, Picaridine, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus oil as safe and effective, when used according to labels, against mosquitoes that can transmit disease. Wearing loosely fitting long sleeves and trousers can also help deter biting.
All water that remains for more than a week in containers such as flower pots, fountains and pet dishes provides the perfect breeding environment for mosquitoes. GLACVCD reminds residents that even the smallest water source can contribute to a major public health problem.
GLACVCD urged residents to take an active role in reducing the threat of WNV in their neighborhood by taking the following steps:
- eliminate standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels
- discarded tires, buckets, water or anything that holds water for more than a week;
- ensure that swimming pools, spas and ponds are maintained properly;
- change the water in pet bowls, bird baths and other small containers every week;
- request mosquitoes from your local vector control area for placement in ornamental ponds;
- carry insect repellent when outdoors where mosquitoes can be found
- report neglected or green water pools in your area to your vector control area.
For more information, residents can contact GLACVCD online at www.glacvcd.org or by calling 562-944-9656.