With 6 Deaths So Far, County Steps Up Mosquito Warnings

September 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles County health officials, joined by Supervisor Janice Hahn, went door-to-door Monday as they began a public-outreach campaign warning residents about West Nile virus and the dangers of mosquito bites.

“Here in L.A. County there are mosquitoes currently carrying the West Nile virus,” Hahn said. “So far this year there have been 98 cases of individuals with West Nile virus and six confirmed deaths.”

Health officials noted that there were 17 new cases of West Nile virus in the county last week alone, highlighting the continuing danger of mosquito-borne illnesses — which also include the Zika virus.

“Mosquitoes can carry serious and even deadly diseases, and every precaution should be taken to protect yourself and your family from bites,” Hahn said.

Hahn and the county announced the “It’s Not Just a Bite” public health campaign, aimed at spreading the word about the need for residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Paramount among the recommendations is the warning to clear properties of standing water that can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Even a small puddle of water can attract the insects and endanger residents, officials said.

Residents were also urged to wear mosquito repellent when outdoors, noting that people over 50 and those with existing health conditions are most at risk of developing serious health issues from West Nile virus.

Information about the West Nile and Zika viruses is available online from the county Department of Public Health at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Mosquito-Borne-Disease.htm.

Symptoms of West Nile virus can include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headaches, but many people who are infected may not show any symptoms. About one in 150 people could develop more serious problems, such as brain inflammation or paralysis, health officials said.

Mosquito season in Southern California generally spans the months of May to October, but health officials said this year’s season could stretch into November.

Health Officials Warn Travelers, Pregnant Women of Zika Danger

January 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

County health officials Tuesday urged travelers to Latin America, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico, especially pregnant women, to take precautions to protect themselves from contracting a mosquito-borne virus that can cause birth defects.

The Zika virus outbreak is ongoing in 21 countries, including Mexico and Puerto Rico.

No transmission of the disease has been reported in the United States. However, there has been one confirmed case of the virus in Los Angeles County — in an adolescent girl who traveled to El Salvador in late November. Health officials said she has recovered.

The species of mosquito that can transmit Zika is present in the San Gabriel Valley and the eastern part of the county.

“At this time, local transmission is unlikely,” according to a Los Angeles County Department of Public Health statement issued Tuesday. “It would require an Aedes mosquito biting a Zika infected person and then biting others.”

Local health officials said they are continuing “surveillance to identify any potentially infected travelers returning to the county.”

The county’s top health official advised travelers to use bug spray approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants or clothing specially treated to avoid mosquito bites.

“Pregnant women should avoid travel to the areas where the outbreak is ongoing, if possible,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the county’s interim health officer.

The disease has been linked to miscarriages and microcephaly — which can cause serious developmental delays and babies born with abnormally small heads — though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website notes that additional studies of such reports, initially out of Brazil, are needed.

As of Jan. 22, Zika-affected countries included Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

“Because the Aedes species mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are found throughout the world, including the U.S., it is anticipated that outbreaks will spread to new countries,” the DPH statement says.

For those who are not pregnant, about one in five will get sick, according to the CDC. Symptoms, including fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, typically begin two to seven days after being bitten. Some people experience no symptoms.

People can reduce the spread of the Aedes mosquito — and the risk of other mosquito-borne diseases such as chikungunya and dengue — by eliminating standing water around their homes where mosquitos may breed.

Updates of affected countries and traveler health notices are posted on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov and more information on the virus can be found at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov.

Mosquito Warning Issued

May 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Great Los Angeles County Vector Control District Monday asked residents to assist in controlling invasive mosquito populations.

Any sightings of small, black-and-white mosquitoes or if you are being bitten by them during the day time, should result in a call to the district.

Also, water around your home should be dumped and drained. Eliminate plant saucers and other unnecessary containers and scrub outdoor pet water dishes weekly to remove mosquito eggs.

Do not share plant stems rooted in water and do not keep outdoor buckets full of water.

The use of insect repellants are also recommended.

For more information or to report a particular problem, call (562) 944-9656.

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