More Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in L.A. County

California Health Officials Warn Of Increase West Nile Activity This Season As Drought And Heat Could Spread Disease

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Twenty-six more mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus this week in Los Angeles County, bringing to 264 the number of positive samples so far this year, vector control officials reported today.

The mosquito samples all were collected from areas previously identified as positive for WNV, according to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. The highest totals of mosquitoes that have tested positive this year were reported in: Encino and North Hollywood with 14 each, Valley Village with 13, Van Nuys and Pico Rivera with 12 each and Studio City and Toluca Lake with 10 each.

West Nile virus is endemic in Los Angeles County, and warm temperatures can increase virus activity and mosquito populations, according to the GLACVC. As of Oct. 2, 93 WNV human cases have been reported in California this year, 27 of which were identified by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

“The warm fall temperatures help West Nile virus and mosquito season continue later into the year,'' said Anais Medina Diaz, the district's public information officer. “Residents need to continue practicing mosquito control in their homes by eliminating standing water and wearing insect repellent to protect themselves.''

One in five individuals infected with the WNV, for which there is no cure, will exhibit symptoms that include fever, headache, body aches, nausea or skin rash. The symptoms can last for several days 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. Those at greatest risk include seniors and individuals with compromised immune systems.

Residents are urged to:

-- apply mosquito repellent containing CDC and EPA-approved active ingredients DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus before going outdoors and re-apply as recommended on the label;

-- wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants;

-- close or repair all unscreened doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home;

-- eliminate standing water in clogged rain gutters, rain barrels, discarded tires, watering troughs or anything that holds water for more than a week;

-- change the water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers weekly;

-- ensure that swimming pools, spas and ponds are properly maintained;

-- request mosquitofish from your local vector control district for placement in ornamental ponds;

-- report neglected (green) swimming pools to the local vector control district.

Photo: Getty Images

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