The first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) this year in Long Beach has been confirmed. As of September 11, 2015, 123 human cases have been reported from 23 California counties, including Los Angeles (4) and Orange (6). There have been two WNV-related deaths this year in California.
WNV is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs and symptoms of WNV may include fever, body aches, rash, nausea, vomiting and headache. Most people infected have no symptoms; approximately one in 150 may develop more serious disease, such as brain inflammation or paralysis. Persons with these symptoms should seek immediate care.
Summer weather and drought conditions create an ideal environment for mosquito breeding. Dr. Mitchell Kushner, City Health Officer, encourages all residents to protect themselves from WNV by taking the following precautions:
- Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Mosquitoes can breed in standing water. Eliminate standing water on your property by draining water in neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or anything that can hold water.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants if you plan to be outdoors at dawn or dusk.
- Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Residents should follow instructions on the label. Consult with your child’s pediatrician for appropriate concentrations of DEET to be used on children under the age of two years.
- Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes and check to make sure your window screens are in good condition.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and drain water from pool covers.
- Limit the watering of lawns and outdoor plants to Tuesdays and Saturdays, and avoid run off to gutters and around sprinklers.
- Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Health Services by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD or online at www.westnile.ca.gov.
The Long Beach Health Department continues active surveillance for mosquito populations and works to control mosquito populations in known public breeding locations such as ponds, wetlands and flood channels. Residents can do their part by eliminating standing water in and around their property and reporting breeding sources to the Health Department at the number below.
Further information about the WNV may be obtained at the California Department of Public Health website at www.westnile.ca.gov, or at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile.