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Year's 1st West Nile Mosquito Found + Safety Tips

L.A. County sees its first 2012 virus sample and vector control officials offer how to avoid the virus.

The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District has confirmed its first positive West Nile virus mosquito sample of the year. The sample was collected in Encino.

On July 23, Sherman Oaks saw its first case of the virus in a dead bird. 

Statewide, 91 positive mosquito samples have been identified this year in six counties, compared with five counties at this point in 2011.

"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."

West Nile virus is transmitted to people and animals through bites from infected mosquitoes. 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.

In 2011, Cerritos was plagued with a several discoveries of dead crows infected with the virus, prompting vector control officials to urge locals to follow the thre “D's” of West Nile virus prevention to protect themselves and their families.

The 3 “D’s” of West Nile Virus Prevention

  • Dump/Drain: eliminate all standing water.
  • Dusk/Dawn: avoid outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Defend: use mosquito repellents containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus and wear long-sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors. Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows.

For further information, visit the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District at www.glacvcd.org or call (562) 944-9656. Additional West Nile virus information is available at www.westnile.ca.gov.

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