The City of Montebello is one of 13 areas where public health officials last week confirmed the West Nile Virus to be present.
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) confirmed the positive mosquito samples just a couple of days before the start of National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, which runs through June 29. So far, the district has confirmed a total of 26 WNV-positive mosquito samples for 2013, with the biggest jump coming just last week.
The West Nile virus, which can cause fever, headache, body aches, nausea, or a skin rash, is transmitted to people and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. While only one in five persons with West Nile will exhibit symptoms, in rare cases, one out of 150 people infected will need to be hospitalized, say health officials. Severe symptoms include high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, coma, paralysis, and possibly death.
There is no cure for West Nile virus.
“The widespread increase in West Nile virus activity this week is a reminder that the summer mosquito breeding season is here and residents need to take measures to protect against mosquito bites and disease transmission,” said Truc Dever, Director of Community Affairs for GLACVCD.
He said National Mosquito Control Awareness Week is an opportunity for the “district to emphasize the importance of mosquito control and disease prevention.”
Positive samples have so far been collected in Norwalk, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, Bell, South Gate, Artesia, Cudahy, Van Nuys, Valley Village, Pico Rivera and Montebello.
Prevention is the key to stopping the spread of the virus, say vector control officials.
People can protect themselves and their family by following the “Three D’s of West Nile virus prevention”:
Eliminate or report standing water on your property because that’s where mosquitoes breed.
Avoid outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active.
If you are outdoors when mosquitoes are biting, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts and apply insect repellent containing EPA-registered active ingredients such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, and Oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Birds help spread the virus and dead birds can be a sign that West Nile is present, so health officials are also urging the public report dead bird sightings to the California Department of Public Health’s toll-free hotline at 877-WNV BIRD, or on-line at www.westnile.ca.gov.
For more information, please contact the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at (562) 944-9656 or visit www.glacvcd.org.