The first positive West Nile virus mosquito sample of the year in the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District has been found in Encino.
'This is a reminder that West Nile virus continues to be a problem here in Los Angeles County,' district director of scientific-technical services Susanne Kluh said in a written statement. 'We can anticipate more activity as the season progresses.''
Statewide, 91 positive mosquito samples have been identified this year in six counties, compared with five counties at this point in 2011. A dead crow found in Sierra Madre last week also tested positive for the virus.
West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals through bites from infected mosquitoes. District officials advise the public to eliminate standing water in clogged gutters, barrels, buckets, discarded tires, troughs or any thing that holds water for more than a week; ensure that swimming pools, spas and ponds are properly maintained; change the water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers at least weekly; and report mosquito activity near vacant or foreclosed properties.
Kruh suggested the following steps to curb mosquito-breeding habitats:
-Eliminate standing water in clogged gutters, barrels, buckets, discarded tires, troughs or any thing that holds water for more than a week
-Ensure that swimming pools, spas and ponds are properly maintained.
-Change the water in pet dishes, birdbaths and other small containers at least weekly.
-Request free mosquito-eating fish from local vector control districts to place in out-of-order swimming pools, spas and ponds.
-Report neglected (green) swimming pools in your neighborhood.
-Report mosquito activity near vacant or foreclosed properties.
It is estimated that about 20% of people who become infected with WNV will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks.
Residents finding any dead bird (SEE VIDEO ABOVE) are encouraged to call the West Nile Virus Toll Free Hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.